Degree Name

MS (Master of Science)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Chris Widga

Committee Members

Blaine Schubert, Andrew Joyner


Land-use, feeding habits, and response to seasonality by Quaternary megaherbivores in Saltville, Virginia, is poorly understood. Stable isotope analyses of serially sampled Bootherium and Equus enamel from Saltville were used to explore seasonally calibrated (δ18O) patterns in megaherbivore diet (δ13C) and land-use (87Sr/86Sr). Overall, this dataset suggests an open forest with relatively constant temperatures year round that were similar to modern conditions. Neither Bootherium or Equus individuals spent a significant amount of time at higher elevations in the nearby Blue Ridge geologic province. These analyses provide a unique perspective on long-term response of large mammals to climatic shifts and their impact on local ecosystems. Results are also relevant to modern conservation decisions, especially those surrounding highland grassy balds in the Appalachians, and their maintenance by grazing pressure.

Document Type

Thesis - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.

Included in

Paleontology Commons