MS (Master of Science)
Date of Award
Committee Chair or Co-Chairs
Steven C. Wallace
James I. Mead, Blaine W. Schubert
Individuals of Tapirus polkensis from the Gray Fossil Site exhibit an excellent level of preservation. Intact skulls collected from the site were arranged in a rough age class system separated into 7 categories based on the teeth present and amount of dental wear. Such an eruption series is useful for general comparisons amongst the individual tapirs; however, the classes do not represent an age in years due to a lack of data on living tapirs. Consequently, it is possible that some age classes may contain several years of a tapirs life, or comparatively only a few months. In this study I placed ages on individuals of T. polkensis from the Gray Fossil Site based on age data taken from The Baird's Tapir Project of Costa Rica (Baird's Tapirs, T. bairdii) ranging from several months to 7 years in age. As eruption data is only useful for aging tapirs up to 7 years, this study also took dental wear into account for adult tapirs. After aging all possible individuals in the sample, the sample was compared to other studies on perissodactyl population structure. Interestingly, the T. polkensis sample is remarkably similar to modern populations of Diceros bicornis.
Thesis - Open Access
Gibson, Matthew L., "Population Structure Based on Age-Class Distribution of Tapirus polkensis from the Gray Fossil Site Tennessee." (2011). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. Paper 1267. https://dc.etsu.edu/etd/1267
Copyright by the authors.