MS (Master of Science)
Date of Award
Committee Chair or Co-Chairs
Chunhua (Daniel) Zhang, Michael Whitelaw
Discovered in 2000, the Gray Fossil Site provides a snapshot of the flora and fauna that lived during late Miocene to early Pliocene time in eastern Tennessee. These fossils occur in sediments consisting of fine-grained clays and sands of lacustrine origin, which were deposited after multiple sinkholes formed in the underlying Knox Group basement carbonates. Three-dimensional nearest neighbor analysis has been applied to fossils of Tapirus polkensis, characterizing the spatial patterns exhibited. These analyses determined the importance of taphonomic and depositional processes that occurred during the sites formation. Six characteristics were analyzed, four at the bone level including carnivore utilization, weathering, abrasion, and arthritis, and two at the specimen level, articulation and age class. Weathering, arthritis, and articulation, show clustered patterns indicating that the site had active predators, it consisted of many microenvironments, and deposition occurred in a passive setting. Although the current state of excavation makes any spatial analyses and taphonomic interpretations difficult, spatial analysis in both dimensions can be accomplished.
Thesis - Open Access
Ketchum, Winn Addison, "Using Geographical Information Systems to Investigate Spatial Patterns in Fossils of Tapirus polkenis from the Gray Fossil Site, Washington County, Tennessee" (2011). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. Paper 1227. https://dc.etsu.edu/etd/1227
Copyright by the authors.