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Dung, diet, and the paleoenvironment of the extinct shrub-ox (Euceratherium Collinum) on the Colorado Plateau, USA

  • Manny Kropf (a1), Jim I. Mead (a1) (a2) and R. Scott Anderson (a1) (a3)
Abstract

Fossil remains of Euceratherium collinum (extinct shrub-ox) have been found throughout North America, including the Grand Canyon. Recent finds from the Escalante River Basin in southern Utah further extend the animal's range into the heart of the Colorado Plateau. E. collinum teeth and a metapodial condyle (foot bone) have been recovered in association with large distinctively shaped dung pellets, a morphology similar to a ‘Hershey's Kiss’ (HK), from a late Pleistocene dung layer in Bechan Cave. HK dung pellets have also been recovered from other alcoves in the Escalante River Basin including Willow and Fortymile canyons. Detailed analyses of the HK pellets confirmed them to be E. collinum and indicate a browser-type diet dominated (> 95%) by trees and shrubs: Artemisia tridentata (big sagebrush), Acacia sp. (acacia), Quercus (oak), and Chrysothamnus (rabbit brush). The retrieval of spring and fall pollen suggests E. collinum was a year-round resident in the Escalante River Basin.

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Corresponding author
Corresponding author. 780 South 9th Avenue, Tucson, AZ 85701, USA. E-mail address: mannyandsusan@netzero.net (M. Kropf).
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