Degree Name

MS (Master of Science)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Steven C. Wallace

Committee Members

Jim I. Mead, Blaine W. Schubert


Two discreet methods of geometric morphometrics were applied to evaluate the taxonomic utility of each in classifying the craniomandibular region of several Mustela species. Use of both linear measurements and 2-dimensional landmarks proved successful in discriminating between extant M. nigripes (black-footed ferret) and Neovison vison (American mink), in addition to the extant North American weasel species (M. erminea, M. frenata, M. nivalis). Methods were then used to classify Late Pleistocene Mustela spp. fossils collected from Snake Creek Burial Cave (SCBC) of eastern Nevada. Data acquired for unknown predicted group memberships varied markedly among methods and specimens. Nevertheless, results support the presence of M. nigripes and all 3 weasel taxa among the SCBC paleofauna.

Document Type

Thesis - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.

Included in

Geology Commons