MS (Master of Science)
Date of Award
Committee Chair or Co-Chairs
Joshua X. Samuels
Blaine W. Schubert, Steven C. Wallace
Cricetidae ranks as the second-most species-rich and abundant mammalian family, with limited studies on eastern North American records prior to the Pleistocene. While cricetids has been previously noted at the early Pliocene Gray Fossil Site (GFS), this study provides a detailed description of eight taxa: Postcopemys (two species), Symmetrodontomys, Oryzomyini, Peromyscus, Neotoma, Neotomodon, and Xenomys. Postcopemys is the most common cricetid taxon at GFS, followed by Peromyscus and Neotoma. These records expand the stratigraphic and geographic range of multiple genera. Distinctive morphological features of GFS taxa suggest presence of several new species. The GFS cricetid assemblage exhibits diverse body sizes and dietary preferences, setting GFS apart from other contemporaneous sites and emphasizing its spatial and temporal uniqueness. The Appalachian region represents a biodiversity hotspot today, and GFS was likely an important habitat for cricetid evolution during the Pliocene.
Thesis - unrestricted
Xu, Ziqi, "Early Pliocene Mice and Rats from the Gray Fossil Site of Eastern Tennessee: Implications for the Evolution of Cricetidae and Understanding of the Past Ecosystem" (2023). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. Paper 4325. https://dc.etsu.edu/etd/4325
Copyright by the authors.