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Pleistocene Vertebrates with Boreal Affinities in the Georgia Piedmont

  • M.R. Voorhies (a1)

Abstract

Pleistocene alluvium along Little Kettle Creek in east-central Georgia contains a unique record of vertebrate life in the Appalachian Piedmont during a colder phase of the late Quaternary. The small fauna includes fishes and the following mammals: Synaptomys cooperi, the southern bog lemming; Clethrionomys sp., a redback vole; Mammut americanum, the American mastodon; a mammoth, Mammuthus sp.; Odocoileus cf. virginianus, a deer; and Bison sp. Both Synaptomys and Clethrionomys are primarily boreal genera of rodents which today reach their southern limits at higher elevations in the Great Smoky Mountains about 175 km north of the fossil locality. The American mastodon is also commonly associated with Pleistocene spruce bogs in eastern North America. Catfish (Ictalurus (?) sp.) vertebrae from the deposit show well-defined annual rings in contrast with the weakly marked annuli produced by fish living in the same area today. The total aspect of the fauna is one of considerably lower temperatures than those prevailing in the Georgia Piedmont now. The joint occurrence of bison and proboscideans indicates an age no older and no younger than late Pleistocene (Rancholabrean) for the assemblage. Because no pollen was found in the sediments and there was insufficient organic matter present for 14C dating, no more precise age can yet be assigned to the fauna.

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Pleistocene Vertebrates with Boreal Affinities in the Georgia Piedmont

  • M.R. Voorhies (a1)

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