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Paleoentomology and Paleoecology of a Possible Sangamonian Site Near Innerkip, Ontario

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 January 2017

Abstract

A stream section near Innerkip, Ontario, exposes several meters of organic silts and peaty detritus beneath two late Wisconsinan tills. Radiocarbon dates provide a minimal middle Wisconsinan age of >50,000 yr B.P. A 250-kg bulk sample from the peat stratum was processed for vertebrates, plant macrofossils, and insects. Vertebrate remains include teeth from deer, muskrat, and vole as well as plates from a turtle shell. At least 6000 insect fragments from a minimum of 19 Coleoptera families were identified. The most common groups are hydrophilids and dytiscids (water beetles), curculionids (weevils), staphylinids (rove beetles), and carabids (ground beetles). The majority of identified beetles are associated with fresh water as aquatic predators, scavengers, or grazers, while others prefer hygric substrates and moist plant litter. The large number of plant-dependent beetles, the numerous floating and emergent aquatic plant seeds, and the presence of the associated vertebrates point toward a locally rich and varied flora and fauna, probably deposited in a well-vegetated pond. The modern distributions and ecologies of the identified fossil insects suggest temperatures similar to those found in southern Ontario today. On these grounds the Innerkip peat represents either a very warm interstadial or a possible interglacial deposit. If the latter is true this is the second presumed Sangamon-aged site known in southern Ontario.

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University of Washington

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