Paleocene climate and its relationship to mammal ecology and biogeography were
examined at continental scale to test for long-term stasis of ecogeographical patterns
among mammals and to better understand the effects of climate change on mammalian
faunal dynamics. I also investigated local paleoclimatic and paleohydrologic conditions
in a region associated with well-preserved fossil mammals to assess the local effects of
greenhouse warming and the relationship between paleoenvironment and taphonomy of
fossil mammals. The combination of unique and unstable faunas and globally equable
climate resulted in complex ecological and biogeographical patterns among Paleocene
mammals that contrast from well-structured patterns that exist today.
Latitudinal gradients in Paleocene mammal species richness and body size differ
from the patterns observed today among extant mammals. Differences between
Paleocene and modern biogeographic patterns could be a function of unique Paleocene
faunas with distinct ecology, ongoing ecological recovery after the Cretaceous-Paleogene
extinction, and/or the diversity and body-size gradients being geologically recent or
episodic phenomena and not general features of the geographic distribution of mammals. Sedimentary carbonates found throughout exposures of Paleocene terrestrial
formations of the Crazy Mountains Basin, south-central Montana are unlike most other
non-marine carbonates described previously in the literature, but may have formed under
similar conditions as proposed for some Paleocene carbonates from the Clarks Fork
Basin, Wyoming. Select carbonates from both regions contain exceptionally preserved
vertebrate fossils and exhibit similar taphonomy.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. August 2011. Major: Geology. Advisor: David L.Fox. 1 computer file (PDF); iii, 178 pages.
Rose, Peter Jason.
Paleoclimate and mammal paleocology during the paleocene of North America: insights from stable isotopes..
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