Degree Name

MS (Master of Science)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Joshua X. Samuels

Committee Members

Blaine Schubert, Chris Widga


The early Pliocene Gray Fossil Site (GFS) is a biodiverse site with a unique faunal assemblage that represents one of few sites of its age in eastern North America. A community structure analysis of the mammals at GFS was done to characterize species and better understand the paleoenvironment. Data and was gathered from twenty modern communities and five late Neogene sites to compare with GFS. Species from these 26 sites were categorized by body size, locomotor mode, cheek tooth crown height, and diet to characterize niches occupied. Descriptive statistics contrasted proportions of species within categories across communities. Discriminant function analyses (DFA) determined characteristics that best differentiate communities and classified fossil site habitat types. DFA results indicate that the GFS paleoenvironment was a habitat most similar to modern temperate forest regions in the eastern U.S. and China. Characteristics of GFS are dissimilar from other late Neogene sites examined in this study.

Document Type

Thesis - embargo


Copyright by the authors.