MS (Master of Science)
Date of Award
Committee Chair or Co-Chairs
Joshua X Samuels
Blaine W Schubert, Andrew Joyner
Continental scale studies on ungulate crown heights in relation to climate and habitat changes have revealed a correlation between increasing hypsodonty and a shift to more arid environments. Small mammals have been shown to adapt to changing habitats millions of years earlier than larger mammals. In this study I examined fossil localities throughout the last 37 Ma across North America. Diversity of rodents and lagomorphs were analyzed through this time period, with examination of community structure characterized by relative percentages of taxa with different crown heights. Overall, a decrease in precipitation and temperature was found across North America from 37 Ma to the present. The Mid Miocene Climatic Optimum (around 15 Ma) was an pronounced period of warming, comparable to the warming we see today. Nebraska and California showed increases in crown height before Oregon. Overall, these findings help demonstrate how communities react at different time scales to climate change.
Thesis - embargo
Schap, Julia, "Ecometric Estimation of Present and Past Climate of North America Using Crown Heights of Rodents and Lagomorphs: With Application to the Middle Miocene Climatic Optimum" (2019). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. Paper 3563. https://dc.etsu.edu/etd/3563
Copyright by the authors.
Available for download on Saturday, April 01, 2023