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Fossil Armadillos in Nebraska: The Northernmost Record

M. R. Voorhies
The Southwestern Naturalist
Vol. 32, No. 2 (Jun. 15, 1987), pp. 237-243
DOI: 10.2307/3671566
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3671566
Page Count: 7
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Fossil Armadillos in Nebraska: The Northernmost Record
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Abstract

Characteristic dermal scutes of an armadillo (Dasypus cf. D. bellus) collected from alluvial deposits of late Blancan age (about 2.5 million years old) in Antelope County, Nebraska, represent the northernmost known occurrence of the Dasypodidae. Except for two other Blancan records, in Florida, the Nebraska specimens are also the oldest North American evidence of the family. The Big Springs Local Fauna, in which Dasypus comprises a rare element, also contains other vertebrate taxa (Geochelone, Bassariscus, Tapirus) whose modern ranges lie far to the south of Nebraska. A warm paleoclimate is thus suggested; however, enthusiasm for armadillos as paleoecological indicators should be tempered by the recent discovery of D. bellus in the late Pleistocene of southwestern Iowa where it is accompanied by the remains of boreal rodents. The large Pleistocene species may have been more cold-tolerant than its probable Recent descendant, D. novemcinctus.

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