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Comparative taphonomy of the mammalian remains from the Cabbage Patch Beds of western Montana (Renova Formation, Arikareean); contrasting depositional environments and specimen preservation

Jonathan J. Calede
Comparative taphonomy of the mammalian remains from the Cabbage Patch Beds of western Montana (Renova Formation, Arikareean); contrasting depositional environments and specimen preservation
Palaios (November 2016) 31 (11): 497-515

Abstract

The study of faunal change through time in the fossil record requires a careful assessment of the potential biases introduced by the filtering of death assemblages by depositional environments and other agents of accumulation such as predators. The investigation of taphonomy of the mammalian remains from the Arikareean-aged Cabbage Patch beds of western Montana reported here used both sedimentological evidence and characteristics of the preservation of the fossil specimens to test two hypotheses regarding their preservation pattern: (1) the pattern of faunal change through the section is not a product of differences in the preservation of fossils and (2) the taphonomic characteristics of fossil specimens are linked to the environments in which they were preserved. The interpretation of the sedimentological data, combined with the analyses of the taphonomic filtering of mammalian fossils, suggests that the attritional accumulation of fossils in floodplain settings was the result of predator activity, attrition, and local reworking by fluvial processes. The fossils from these deposits experienced little transport. Moreover, despite complexities in the dataset, select specimen characteristics, including size, shape, and surface modifications, can be linked to the depositional environments determined from sedimentological data. The fossils recovered from a high energy deposit of the lower Cabbage Patch are significantly different from those found in low energy deposits. These low depositional energy fossil assemblages appear to be sufficiently taphonomically similar to be used in faunal analyses despite a change in postmortem filtering through the section.


ISSN: 0883-1351
Serial Title: Palaios
Serial Volume: 31
Serial Issue: 11
Title: Comparative taphonomy of the mammalian remains from the Cabbage Patch Beds of western Montana (Renova Formation, Arikareean); contrasting depositional environments and specimen preservation
Author(s): Calede, Jonathan J.
Affiliation: University of Washington, Department of Biology, Seattle, WA, United States
Pages: 497-515
Published: 201611
Text Language: English
Publisher: Society for Sedimentary Geology, Tulsa, OK, United States
References: 131
Accession Number: 2017-006316
Categories: Vertebrate paleontology
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. strat. cols., 11 tables, sketch map
N46°22'60" - N46°40'00", W113°09'00" - W112°43'00"
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute.
Update Code: 201705
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