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High elevation plant and animal communities are considered extremely sensitive to environmental change. We investigated an exceptional fossil record of yellow-bellied marmot (Marmota flaviventris) specimens that was recovered from Cement Creek Cave (elev. 2860 m) and ranged in age from radiocarbon background circa 49.8 cal ka BP to ~ 1 cal ka BP. We coupled isotopic and radiocarbon measurements (δ18O, δD, δ15N, δ13C, and 14C) of bone collagen from individually-AMS dated specimens of marmots to assess ecological responses by this species to environmental change over time in a high elevation basin in the Rocky Mountains of southwestern Colorado, USA. We find little change in all four isotope ratios over time, demonstrating considerable environmental stability during periods when the marmots were present. The stable ecology and the apparent persistence of the small mammal community in the cave fauna throughout the late Quaternary are in marked contrast to the changes that occurred in the large mammal community, including local extirpation and extinction, at the end of the Pleistocene.
The Last Glacial–Interglacial Transition (LGIT; 15,000–11,000 cal BP) was characterized by complex spatiotemporal patterns of climate change, with numerous studies requiring accurate chronological control to decipher leads from lags in global paleoclimatic, paleoenvironmental, and archaeological records. However, close scrutiny of the few available tree-ring chronologies and radiocarbon-dated sequences composing the IntCal13 14C calibration curve indicates significant weakness in 14C calibration across key periods of the LGIT. Here, we present a decadally resolved atmospheric 14C record derived from New Zealand kauri spanning the Lateglacial from ~13,100–11,365 cal BP. Two floating kauri 14C time series, curve-matched to IntCal13, serve as a 14C backbone through the Younger Dryas. The floating Northern Hemisphere (NH) 14C data sets derived from the YD-B and Central European Lateglacial Master tree-ring series are matched against the new kauri data, forming a robust NH 14C time series to ~14,200 cal BP. Our results show that IntCal13 is questionable from ~12,200–11,900 cal BP and the ~10,400 BP 14C plateau is approximately 5 decades too short. The new kauri record and repositioned NH pine 14C series offer a refinement of the international 14C calibration curves IntCal13 and SHCal13, providing increased confidence in the correlation of global paleorecords.
This article presents the pretreatment protocols for wood samples processed at the Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit (ORAU), including recent implementation of a purification method to α-cellulose for non-routine samples. We examine the long-term reproducibility of measurement on wood samples at ORAU through the >1000 14C determinations made on known-age tree-ring standards processed in each AMS wheel since our present High Voltage Engineering Europa (HVEE) AMS system came on-line in September 2002. A discussion of background measurements is also provided.
Wc describe here the New Zealand kauri (Agathis australis) Younger Dryas (YD) research project, which aims to undertake Δ14C analysis of ∼140 decadal floating wood samples spanning the time interval ∼13.1–11.7 kyr cal BP. We report 14C intercomparison measurements being undertaken by the carbon dating laboratories at University of Waikato (Wk), University of California at Irvine (UCI), and University of Oxford (OxA). The Wk, UCI, and OxA laboratories show very good agreement with an interlaboratory comparison of 12 successive decadal kauri samples (average offsets from consensus values of –7 to +4 14C yr). A University of Waikato/University of Heidelberg (HD) intercomparison involving measurement of the YD-age Swiss larch tree Ollon505, shows a HD/Wk offset of ∼10–20 14C yr (HD younger), and strong evidence that the positioning of the Ollon505 series is incorrect, with a recommendation that the 14C analyses be removed from the IntCal calibration database.
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