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Within-taxon morphological diversity in late-Quaternary Neotoma as a paleoenvironmental indicator, Bonneville Basin, Northwestern Utah, USA

Abstract

Ecological data indicate that as the amount of precipitation in an arid areas increases, so too does mammalian taxonomic richness. This correspondence has been found in two late-Quaternary mammalian faunas from Utah, one from Homestead Cave in the Bonneville Basin. We use the remains of two species of woodrat (Neotoma cinerea and Neotoma lepida) from Homestead Cave to test the hypothesis that as the amount of precipitation in an arid area increases, so too does morphological diversity within individual mammalian taxa. Morphological diversity is measured as corrected coefficients of variation and as richness of size classes of mandibular alveolar lengths. Coefficients of variation for N. cinerea are few and coincide with moisture history if temporally successive small samples are lumped together. More abundant coefficients of variation for N. lepida coincide only loosely with moisture history, likely because such coefficients measure dispersion but not necessarily other aspects of variation. Richness of size classes of N. lepida is high during the early and late Holocene when moisture was high, and lowest during the middle Holocene when climate was most arid.

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Corresponding author. Fax: +1 573 884 5450.E-mail address:lymanr@missouri.edu (R.L. Lyman).
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This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

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R.J.Zakrzewski , (1993). Morphological change in woodrat (Rodentia: Cricetidae) molars. R.A.Martin , A.D.Barnosky , Morphological Change in Quaternary Mammals of North America Cambridge Univ. Press, Cambridge., 392409.

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Quaternary Research
  • ISSN: 0033-5894
  • EISSN: 1096-0287
  • URL: /core/journals/quaternary-research
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