Degree Name

MS (Master of Science)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Chris Widga, Andrew Joyner

Committee Members

Steven Wallace


This project uses exploratory 3D geospatial analyses to assess the taphonomy of the Gray Fossil Site (GFS). During the Pliocene, the GFS was a forested, inundated sinkhole that accumulated biological materials between 4.9-4.5 mya. This deposit contains fossils exhibiting different preservation modes: from low energy lacustrine settings to high energy colluvial deposits. All macro-paleontological materials have been mapped in situ using survey-grade instrumentation. Vertebrate skeletal material from the site is well-preserved, but the degree of skeletal articulation varies spatially within the deposit. This analysis uses geographic information systems (GIS) to analyze the distribution of mapped specimens at different spatial scales. Factors underpinning spatial association, skeletal completeness, and positioning of specimens were examined. At the scale of the individual skeleton, analyses of the Mastodon Pit explore how element completeness and orientation/inclination of the mastodon reflect post-depositional processes.

Document Type

Thesis - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.