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New Pleistocene (Rancholabrean) Vertebrate Faunas from Coastal Georgia

Richard C. Hulbert, Jr. and Ann E. Pratt
Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology
Vol. 18, No. 2 (Jun. 15, 1998), pp. 412-429
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4523911
Page Count: 18
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New Pleistocene (Rancholabrean) Vertebrate Faunas from Coastal Georgia
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Abstract

Four new late Pleistocene faunas have been collected in Chatham County, Georgia, in the vicinity of Savannah. Together they have produced 103 vertebrate taxa (12 chondrichthyans, 25 actinopterygians, 7 amphibians, 20 reptiles, 4 birds, and 35 mammals), of which at least 14 are extinct. About 75 percent of these taxa are reported for the first time as fossils from coastal Georgia. The Isle of Hope, Mayfair, and Jones Girls sites are numerically dominated by neritic marine fossils, both vertebrate and invertebrate, implying that their original depositional environment was estuarine or nearshore marine. The less common, terrestrial component of these faunas was either brought in by fluvial and tidal current transport or introduced by reworking of underlying continental sediments. These sites apparently date to the last interglacial (oxygen isotope Stage 5), at a time when relative sea level was close to or slightly above current values. This age assignment is supported by the composition of the fauna and uranium-series and radiocarbon dating. The fourth new site, Porters Pit, is a fluvial channel lag deposit of coarse clastic sediments and a chronologically mixed assemblage of Miocene, Pliocene, and Pleistocene fossils. It dates to a period of fluvial down-cutting during an eustatic sea-level lowstand. The Isle of Hope Site contains the first rich vertebrate microfauna from coastal Georgia. The most significant aspects of this fauna are the presence of several extralimital taxa (e.g., Ambystoma maculatum, Blarina brevicauda, Microtus pennsylvanicus, Neofiber alleni), and the dominance among the small rodents by arvicolines rather than peromyscines and sigmodontines. An unlikely member of the fauna is the small felid Leopardus. Although represented by only a single element, a mandible, it differs morphologically from modern members of the genus and the late Pleistocene species Leopardus amnicola.

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