Degree Name

MS (Master of Science)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Steven C. Wallace

Committee Members

Steven C. Wallace, Blaine W. Schubert, Jim, I. Mead


Clark’s Cave contains a large collection of late Pleistocene mammal material. In particular, it contains a sizable amount of Microtus spp. which can be valuable paleoclimate indicators. Identification techniques traditionally used to classify these species have been shown to be unreliable. Recent studies have shown that using geometric morphometric techniques on lower first molars can be more successful. By placing landmarks and running a discriminate analysis on new and previously collected material from the cave, significant differences in Microtus species proportions were found. Specifically, showing the deposit has a larger proportion of M. xanthognathus than previously reported; resulting in a subsequent drop in the number of M. pennsylvanicus and M. chrotorrhinus present. Moreover, previously unreported M. ochrogaster was determined to be an important component of the fauna. The results presented here show the importance of applying new techniques to previous studies.

Document Type

Thesis - unrestricted