Culminating Project Title
Date of Award
Culminating Project Type
Special Studies: M.S.
College of Liberal Arts
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.
Keywords and Subject Headings
Paleoenvironment of the Whitehead Creek Locality
Toward the end of the Middle Eocene (40-37mya), the environment started to decline on a global scale. It was becoming more arid, the tropical forests were disappearing from the northern latitudes, and there was an increase in seasonality. Research of the Chadronian (37-33.7mya) in the Great Plains region of North America has documented the persistence of several mammalian taxa (e.g. primates) that are extinct in other parts of North America. This research aims to investigate the paleoenvironment of the Whitehead Creek locality, Nebraska, one Chadronian-age locality within the Great Plains, in order to better understand the circumstances surrounding the persistence of relict taxa during the late Eocene. To address the paleoenvironment at Whitehead Creek, this research evaluates locomotor guilds of 56 astragalar morphospecies, 43 calcaneal morphospecies, and a sample of 55 terminal phalanges. To evaluate paleoenvironment at Whitehead Creek, locomotor frequencies established for fossil morphospecies were compared with those found in 25 modern sites, representing a wide range of environments, using Sørenson’s similarity index and the Euclidean Distance method. Results indicate that small mammals (< 1,000g) at Whitehead Creek practiced a wide range of locomotor activities including leaping, digging, climbing, and running in both arboreal and terrestrial habitats. Comparisons suggest that a gallery forest in the Cerrado of Brazil is a good modern analog for Whitehead Creek. The mixture of locomotor categories found at Whitehead Creek suggest that Whitehead Creek was a mosaic of water, overbanks, closed canopy forests (with an herbaceous understory), bamboo thickets and open woodlands.
Mills, Samantha, "Paleoenvironment of the Late Eocene Chadronian-Age Whitehead Creek Locality (Northwestern Nebraska)" (2019). Culminating Projects in Cultural Resource Management. 28.