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

Manny Kropf, Jim I. Mead, R. Scott Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

23 Scopus citations

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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)143-151
Number of pages9
JournalQuaternary Research
Volume67
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2007

Keywords

  • Bechan Cave
  • Dung
  • Escalante River Basin
  • Euceratherium
  • Microhistology
  • Paleoenvironment
  • Pleistocene
  • Pollen

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

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