Abstract

Significant work has gone into describing Ice Age faunas from Alberta, but relatively little work has been dedicated to understanding the actual structure of Quaternary faunal assemblages in the province. Development of such a data set is necessary to fully understand differences in faunal assemblages that existed before and after the last glacial maximum, and may eventually provide an important historical perspective for understanding the impact of large-scale ecosystem disturbance. Muskoxen fossils from central Alberta were examined to differentiate specimens of Bootherium and Ovibos. Those remains, along with other fossils of Pleistocene megafauna collected from gravel deposits near Edmonton, were used to examine patterns of relative abundance from both pre- and postglacial maximum time periods. Relative abundance for genera of Pleistocene megafauna was calculated using the number of individual specimens (NISP) from 11 individual localities (i.e., gravel pits) in central Alberta. Preglacial localities with statistically significant numbers of specimens (n ≥ 30) are dominated by horse (Equus). Mammoth (Mammuthus) and bison (Bison) are common, but other megafauna, such as Jefferson’s Ground Sloth (Megalonyx jeffersoni) and Yesterday’s Camel (Camelops hesternus), are comparatively rare. Current data for the postglacial fauna indicate a shift in which Bison becomes the most abundant large herbivore on the landscape, a pattern observed in other parts of North America.

You do not currently have access to this article.