Latest Pleistocene paleoecology of Jefferson's ground sloth (Megalonyx jeffersonii) and elk-moose (Cervalces scotti) in northern Illinois

Blaine W. Schubert, Russell Wm Graham, H. Gregory McDonald, Eric C. Grimm, Thomas W. Stafford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations

Abstract

New records of Jefferson's ground sloth (Megalonyx jeffersonii) and elk-moose (Cervalces scotti) from Lang Farm provide the first precise temporal correlation of these taxa with the specific environments inhabited by them near the time of their extinction. Six AMS 14C measurements establish an age of 11,405 ± 50 14C yr B.P. for Lang Farm Cervalces and an age of 11,430 ± 60 or 11,485 ± 40 14C yr B.P. for the Megalonyx . These measurements represent the youngest 14C dates for these two genera based on direct dating. Comparison of the dates with pollen data from northern Illinois indicates that these species inhabited a nonanalog environment that was transitional from mid-latitude tundra to mixed conifer and deciduous woodland. Although spruce ( Picea sp.) was dominant, it was less abundant than prior to 12,500 14C yr B.P. The presence of black ash (Fraxinus nigra) and fir (Abies sp.) indicates a wet climate and heavy winter precipitation. This may have been the preferred habitat for Cervalces because of its narrow geographic range. However, this habitat type was only one of many occupied by Megalonyx as indicated by its broad geographic distribution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)231-240
Number of pages10
JournalQuaternary Research
Volume61
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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

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