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Degree Name

MS (Master of Science)

Program

Geosciences

Date of Award

12-2012

Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Blaine W. Schubert

Committee Members

Steven C. Wallace, Larisa R.G. DeSantis, James I. Mead

Abstract

The paleoecology of Guy Wilson Cave is based on 1) systematic identification of cervid material, 2) taphonomic analysis of cervids with a focus on carnivore utilization, and 3) carbon isotopes from cervid and herbivore tooth enamel (δ13C). Systematic identification reveals that there are at least three cervid species in the cave fauna based on fossil remains: Odocoileus virginianus, Rangifer tarandus, and either Cervalces scotti or Alces alces. Separation of Cervalces and Alces based on the dental material was not possible. Taphonomic analysis of gnawing and tooth markings showed alterations by a canid predator, and the overall pattern suggests full-heavy utilization and possible scavenging activity by the dire wolf, Canis dirus. δ13C analysis of the herbivore community showed that taxa were feeding in a dominantly C3 environment, likely a relatively dense forest. Odocoileus showed no dietary shift from the late Pleistocene to today, also suggesting a forested environment in the past.

Document Type

Thesis - Campus Only

Copyright

Copyright by the authors.

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