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Paleontology and paleoecology of guano deposits in Mammoth Cave, Kentucky, USA

  • Chris Widga (a1) and Mona Colburn (a1)


Bat guano deposits are common in the Mammoth Cave system (Kentucky, USA). Paleontological remains associated with these deposits are important records of local landscape changes. Recent excavations in the cave suggest that vertebrate remains in most of these deposits are dominated by Chiroptera. Although no extinct fauna were identified, the presence of a large roost of Tadarida brasiliensis in the Chief City section is beyond the northern extent of its current range suggesting that this deposit dates to an undetermined interglacial period. Stable isotope analyses of Tadarida-associated guano indicate a C3 prey signature characteristic of forested habitat. This was unexpected since this species is typically associated with open environments. Further ecomorphological analysis of wing shape trends in interglacial, Holocene, and historic-aged assemblages indicate that interglacial faunas are dominated by fast-flying, open-space taxa (T. brasiliensis) while late Holocene and Historic assemblages contain more taxa that utilized closed forest or forest gaps.


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* Corresponding author. E-mail address: (C.Widga).


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Paleontology and paleoecology of guano deposits in Mammoth Cave, Kentucky, USA

  • Chris Widga (a1) and Mona Colburn (a1)


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