Degree Name

MS (Master of Science)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Steven Wallace

Committee Members

James Mead, Blaine Schubert


Due in part to the incompleteness of the Cenozoic fossil record in the eastern U.S., the evolution and immigration of shrews (Soricidae) is not well understood. A rich soricid fauna from the Gray Fossil Site (GFS), Washington County, TN, has enabled many new inferences to be made. There are 7 new species in 6 genera: Paenelimnoecus, “Blarinella”, Petenyia, Tregosorex, Crusafontina, and Gen et sp. nov. GFS species of the genera Paenelimnoecus, “Blarinella”, and Petenyia are the first occurrence of each genus in the New World. Tregosorex, Crusafontina, and the N.A. taxon Limnoecus all have their latest documented occurrence at the GFS, extending their temporal range by at least 1 million years. “Blarinella” sp. nov. has a complete lateral groove in the inferior incisor, providing the earliest evidence for venom in soricids by at least 4 million years. GFS taxa also provide insight into the evolution of both Soricini and Blarinini.

Document Type

Thesis - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.