Abstract

Variations in the strontium isotope ratio (87Sr/86Sr) of tooth enamel are used to examine the migration patterns of late Pleistocene mammoths and mastodons from Florida. An animal's 87Sr/86Sr ratio tracks the ratios of its environment, which vary with differences in bedrock and soil. Consequently, the environmentally controlled differences in 87Sr/86Sr ratio recorded in mineralized tissue, such as tooth enamel, may be used to reconstruct the movement patterns of an individual. We map variations in local 87Sr/86Sr ratios across modern Florida and Georgia through analysis of rodent teeth, plants, and surface water, then use this map to interpret the movement patterns of extinct mammals. Mastodons from northern and central Florida have higher 87Sr/86Sr ratios than both modern environmental samples from Florida and fossils from nonmigratory species, suggesting that mastodons migrated north into Georgia. Mammoths display ratios similar to those of environmental samples and resident species, suggesting that they did not migrate outside Florida.

First Page Preview

First page PDF preview
You do not currently have access to this article.