The Occurrence of an Abdominal Fauna in an Articulated Tapir (Tapirus polkensis) Recovered from the Miocene Gray Fossil Site Northeast Tennessee.
MS (Master of Science)
Date of Award
Committee Chair or Co-Chairs
Michael S. Zavada
Charles T. Faulkner, Christopher Liu, J. Leonard Robertson
The analysis of samples recovered from the abdominal area of an articulated tapir from the Late Miocene (4.5-7 million bp) Gray Fossil Site, revealed a rich palyno-fauna comprised of about 94% egg/oocyst-like structures and 6% pollen and other palynomorphs. In addition, a tight grouping of six hickory nuts (Carya) was recovered from the same area suggesting that the samples represent the abdominal contents. The analysis of a sample from immediately outside the tapir produced a sample with 98% pollen and less than 0.5% egg-like structures. The size, shape, and general morphology of egg-like structures were analyzed with light and scanning electron microscopy and were compared to a variety of intestinal eggs found in extant ungulates, and in particular the Perissodactyla. We also compared the fossil structures to the numbers and kind of intestinal parasites recovered from fecal samples from the Baird's tapir (Tapirus bairdii) in Costa Rica and from samples collected from the Lowland tapir (T. terrestris) from Ecuador to assess their similarity to our fossil sample. Based on these data we discuss what role parasites may have played in the biology of T. polkensis during the late Miocene-early Pliocene.
Thesis - unrestricted
McConnell, Shannon M., "The Occurrence of an Abdominal Fauna in an Articulated Tapir (Tapirus polkensis) Recovered from the Miocene Gray Fossil Site Northeast Tennessee." (2011). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. Paper 1313. https://dc.etsu.edu/etd/1313
Copyright by the authors.