Title

18. A preliminary stable isotopic investigation of newly discovered fossils from coastal Georgia as a framework for future paleoecosystem investigations

Faculty Mentor(s)

David B. Patterson

Campus

Dahlonega

Proposal Type

Poster

Subject Area

Biology

Location

Nesbitt 3110

Start Date

23-3-2018 11:00 AM

End Date

23-3-2018 12:00 PM

Description/Abstract

The end of the Pleistocene epoch (roughly 10,000 years ago) saw the extinction of many mammal taxa, including charismatic megafauna such as the mammoth, giant ground sloth, and saber-toothed tiger. While we have a good understanding of the types of animals that lived during that time, little is known about what factors might have contributed to their demise. Relatively few excavations have been conducted in Georgia, which limits our understanding of this major ecosystem transition. In this study, 1) we present preliminary paleoecological data from an existing locality from Coastal Georgia, and 2) we outline a projected strategy for supplementing these data and generating new paleoclimatic and environmental data to expand our understanding of this important period. We find that stable isotopic data derived from mammalian enamel collected from this locality indicate a mixed vegetative environment (i.e., one composed of both open and closed settings). This information structures renewed explorations. Over the coming months, we plan to 1) create a high-resolution model of local depositional setting during this period, 2) excavate new fossil material, and 3) create a digital compilation of fossil material from Georgia. Using these data, we expect to better understand ancient large mammal ecology, which will undoubtedly lead to novel insights into ecosystem dynamics and the overall mechanism of extinction during this period.

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Mar 23rd, 11:00 AM Mar 23rd, 12:00 PM

18. A preliminary stable isotopic investigation of newly discovered fossils from coastal Georgia as a framework for future paleoecosystem investigations

Nesbitt 3110

The end of the Pleistocene epoch (roughly 10,000 years ago) saw the extinction of many mammal taxa, including charismatic megafauna such as the mammoth, giant ground sloth, and saber-toothed tiger. While we have a good understanding of the types of animals that lived during that time, little is known about what factors might have contributed to their demise. Relatively few excavations have been conducted in Georgia, which limits our understanding of this major ecosystem transition. In this study, 1) we present preliminary paleoecological data from an existing locality from Coastal Georgia, and 2) we outline a projected strategy for supplementing these data and generating new paleoclimatic and environmental data to expand our understanding of this important period. We find that stable isotopic data derived from mammalian enamel collected from this locality indicate a mixed vegetative environment (i.e., one composed of both open and closed settings). This information structures renewed explorations. Over the coming months, we plan to 1) create a high-resolution model of local depositional setting during this period, 2) excavate new fossil material, and 3) create a digital compilation of fossil material from Georgia. Using these data, we expect to better understand ancient large mammal ecology, which will undoubtedly lead to novel insights into ecosystem dynamics and the overall mechanism of extinction during this period.