Degree Name

MS (Master of Science)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Joshua X. Samuels

Committee Members

Blaine Schubert, Chris Widga


The Gray Fossil Site (GFS) is one of the richest Cenozoic terrestrial localities in the eastern United States. This study describes the first talpid specimens recovered from the GFS. Using measurements and comparisons of dental and humerus morphology, I identify 4 talpids (Parascalops nov. sp., Quyania cf. Q. europaea, Mioscalops (= Scalopoides) sp., and an unidentified stem desman) occurring at the GFS. Humeral morphology has been used to diagnose talpid species and study relationships. A geometric morphometric analysis showed that humerus shape is highly reflective of locomotor ecology in extant talpids and allows ecological inferences for fossil talpids. Hierarchical cluster analysis using morphometric data allowed examination of similarity among taxa and helped to secondarily verify taxonomic designations for the GFS taxa. The resulting phenogram showed strong similarity to the most up-to-date molecular cladogram and actually matched phylogenetic relationships substantially better than any morphological cladistic analyses to date.

Document Type

Thesis - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.

Included in

Paleontology Commons