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

Summary: Dung, diet, and the paleoenvironment of the extinct shrub-ox
(Euceratherium collinum) on the Colorado Plateau, USA
Manny Kropf a,, Jim I. Mead a,c
, R. Scott Anderson a,b
a
Laboratory of Quaternary Paleontology, Quaternary Sciences Program, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ 86011, USA
b
Center for Environmental Sciences and Education, and Quaternary Sciences Program, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ 86011, USA
c
Department of Geology, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ 86011, USA
Received 17 May 2006
Available online 7 November 2006
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.

  

Source: Anderson, R. Scott - Quaternary Sciences Program, Northern Arizona University

 

Collections: Geosciences; Environmental Sciences and Ecology