First Skulls of Arctomeles dimolodontus (Mustelidae: Melinae) from the Gray Fossil Site (Early Pliocene, TN) Reveal Extreme Intraspecific Variation
MS (Master of Science)
Date of Award
Committee Chair or Co-Chairs
Steven C. Wallace
Blaine W. Schubert, Joshua X. Samuels, Xiaoming Wang
Here, a morphological description of the extinct meline badger Arctomeles dimolodontus from the Gray Fossil Site (GFS), Tennessee is provided with comparison to extant Meles meles. Originally described solely on upper teeth of a single individual, the recovery of several crania and jaws provides a sample of at least five individuals, affording the largest known fossil sample in North America of the enigmatic Melinae. Examination of A. dimolodontus skull material reveals extreme intraspecific variation in previously identified diagnostic characters, highlighting the need for caution when identifying fossil taxa based on similarly fragmentary remains. Dental variation is likely a result of hypocarnivory, and dentition may have become more complex over time in response to diet. Based on cranial characters, A. dimolodontus appears to be sexually dimorphic, similarly to extant badgers. Arctomeles dimolodontus has a complex auditory region with large bullae compared to M. meles, suggesting relatively heightened auditory sensitivity.
Thesis - embargo
Bruce, Charles, "First Skulls of Arctomeles dimolodontus (Mustelidae: Melinae) from the Gray Fossil Site (Early Pliocene, TN) Reveal Extreme Intraspecific Variation" (2023). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. Paper 4216. https://dc.etsu.edu/etd/4216
Copyright by the authors.
Available for download on Saturday, June 15, 2024