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Summary of the Snowmastodon Project Special Volume A high-elevation, multi-proxy biotic and environmental record of MIS 6–4 from the Ziegler Reservoir fossil site, Snowmass Village, Colorado, USA

  • Ian M. Miller (a1), Jeffrey S. Pigati (a2), R. Scott Anderson (a3), Kirk R. Johnson (a1) (a4), Shannon A. Mahan (a5), Thomas A. Ager (a2), Richard G. Baker (a6), Maarten Blaauw (a7), Jordon Bright (a8), Peter M. Brown (a9), Bruce Bryant (a2), Zachary T. Calamari (a10) (a11), Paul E. Carrara (a2), Michael D. Cherney (a10) (a11), John R. Demboski (a1), Scott A. Elias (a12), Daniel C. Fisher (a10) (a11), Harrison J. Gray (a5), Danielle R. Haskett (a13), Jeffrey S. Honke (a2), Stephen T. Jackson (a14) (a15), Gonzalo Jiménez-Moreno (a16), Douglas Kline (a1), Eric M. Leonard (a17), Nathaniel A. Lifton (a18), Carol Lucking (a1), H. Gregory McDonald (a19), Dane M. Miller (a14), Daniel R. Muhs (a2), Stephen E. Nash (a1), Cody Newton (a20), James B. Paces (a21), Lesley Petrie (a22), Mitchell A. Plummer (a23), David F. Porinchu (a13), Adam N. Rountrey (a11) (a24), Eric Scott (a25), Joseph J.W. Sertich (a1), Saxon E. Sharpe (a26), Gary L. Skipp (a2), Laura E. Strickland (a2), Richard K. Stucky (a1), Robert S. Thompson (a2) and Jim Wilson (a27)...


In North America, terrestrial records of biodiversity and climate change that span Marine Oxygen Isotope Stage (MIS) 5 are rare. Where found, they provide insight into how the coupling of the ocean–atmosphere system is manifested in biotic and environmental records and how the biosphere responds to climate change. In 2010–2011, construction at Ziegler Reservoir near Snowmass Village, Colorado (USA) revealed a nearly continuous, lacustrine/wetland sedimentary sequence that preserved evidence of past plant communities between ~140 and 55 ka, including all of MIS 5. At an elevation of 2705 m, the Ziegler Reservoir fossil site also contained thousands of well-preserved bones of late Pleistocene megafauna, including mastodons, mammoths, ground sloths, horses, camels, deer, bison, black bear, coyotes, and bighorn sheep. In addition, the site contained more than 26,000 bones from at least 30 species of small animals including salamanders, otters, muskrats, minks, rabbits, beavers, frogs, lizards, snakes, fish, and birds. The combination of macro- and micro-vertebrates, invertebrates, terrestrial and aquatic plant macrofossils, a detailed pollen record, and a robust, directly dated stratigraphic framework shows that high-elevation ecosystems in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado are climatically sensitive and varied dramatically throughout MIS 5.


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Corresponding author.E-mail address: (I.M. Miller).


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