Degree Name

MS (Master of Science)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Blaine W. Schubert

Committee Members

Joshua X. Samuels, Steven C. Wallace


Hickory Tree Cave, also known as Big Spring Cave, is located in the southern Appalachians and is known for fossils that are considered to be Quaternary in age. Fossil mammals were identified and assigned to the lowest taxonomical level possible. Most remains are fragmented or digested and it seems likely that various taphonomic processes are responsible for the resulting assemblage. The site lacks the extreme boreal component of Pleistocene cave faunas in the region (e.g. Baker Bluff Cave), with most reported taxa inhabiting Appalachian deciduous forest environments in North America today. While the presence of tapir (Tapirus sp.) suggests a pre-Holocene component for the deposit, the lack of boreal taxa may indicate that deposition occurred during a relatively warm interval.

Document Type

Thesis - embargo


Copyright by the authors.

Included in

Paleontology Commons