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Taxonomic overview and tusk growth analyses of Ziegler Reservoir proboscideans

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 January 2017

Daniel C. Fisher*
Affiliation:
Museum of Paleontology, University of Michigan, 1109 Geddes Ave., Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Michigan, 1100 N. University Ave., Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA
Michael D. Cherney
Affiliation:
Museum of Paleontology, University of Michigan, 1109 Geddes Ave., Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Michigan, 1100 N. University Ave., Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA
Cody Newton
Affiliation:
Department of Earth Sciences, Denver Museum of Nature and Science, Denver, CO 80205, USA Department of Anthropology, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309, USA
Adam N. Rountrey
Affiliation:
Museum of Paleontology, University of Michigan, 1109 Geddes Ave., Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA Centre for Marine Futures, Oceans Institute, University of Western Australia, M470 35 Stirling Highway, Crawley, WA 6009, Australia
Zachary T. Calamari
Affiliation:
Museum of Paleontology, University of Michigan, 1109 Geddes Ave., Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Michigan, 1100 N. University Ave., Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA Richard Gilder Graduate School, American Museum of Natural History, New York, NY 10024, USA
Richard K. Stucky
Affiliation:
Department of Earth Sciences, Denver Museum of Nature and Science, Denver, CO 80205, USA
Carol Lucking
Affiliation:
Department of Earth Sciences, Denver Museum of Nature and Science, Denver, CO 80205, USA
Lesley Petrie
Affiliation:
Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, University of California Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA 95064, USA
*
Corresponding author. Fax: + 1 734 936 1380.E-mail address:dcfisher@umich.edu (D.C. Fisher).

Abstract

At an altitude of 2705 m in the Colorado Rockies (USA), the Ziegler Reservoir fossil site gives a rare look at a high-elevation ecosystem from the late Pleistocene (especially MIS 5) of North America. Remains of more than four mammoths and about 35 mastodons dominate the macrofossil assemblage. Mammoth remains are attributed to Mammuthus columbi, and mastodon remains are referred to the well-known, continent-wide Mammut americanum. Mastodon remains occur within and between several lake-margin slump deposits. Their deposition must therefore have occurred as events that were to some degree separate in time. We treat the mastodon assemblage in each stratigraphic unit as a source of information on environmental conditions during the lives of these individuals. Mastodon mandibular tusks are abundant at the site and represent both males and females, from calves to full-grown adults. This study presents the first attempt to use microCT, thin-section, and isotope records from mandibular tusks to reconstruct features of life-history. We recognize an up-section trend in δ18O profiles toward higher values, suggestive of warmer temperatures. Throughout this sequence, mastodon growth histories show low mean sensitivities suggestive of low levels of environmental stress. This work helps frame expectations for assessing environmental pressures on terminal Pleistocene populations.

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Articles
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University of Washington

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Taxonomic overview and tusk growth analyses of Ziegler Reservoir proboscideans
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