Taxonomic overview and tusk growth analyses of Ziegler Reservoir proboscideans

D.C. Fisher, M.D. Cherney, C. Newton, Adam Rountrey, Z.T. Calamari, R.K. Stucky, C. Lucking, L. Petrie

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    21 Citations (Scopus)


    © 2014 University of Washington. At an altitude of 2705m 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.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)518-532
    JournalQuaternary Research
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2014


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