Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The Ecomorphology of White-tailed Deer Lower Limb Bones Through the Holocene in Central North America
by Reese, Nathaniel E., M.S., Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, 2015, 123; 1589560
Abstract (Summary)

Recent studies have used ecomorphological methods to look at morphological variation in artiodactyl postcranial elements as indicators of paleoenvironment conditions. From these studies, a continuum of variations in the lower limb bones of members of Bovidae and Cervidae in association with habitat conditions have been developed. The focus of this study is to look at variation in a single species, white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus), that occupies a wide range of habitats and determine if regional adaptations exist in populations of different habitat conditions.

This studies uses linear measurements to assess size and shape variations in the metacarpal, metatarsal, astragalus, and calcaneus between white-tailed deer populations associated with open- and closed-habitat conditions thought-out the Holocene and in modern populations. The Holocene was subdividing into three time units (10,000-5,000, 5,000-3,000, and 3,000-1,000 yr BP) based on environmental shifts and availability of samples. Variations in size and shape were assessed for 1) in open- and closed-habitat conditions in both Holocene and modern deer overall, 2) in habitat conditions in open-classified Holocene deer through time, 3) in modern deer populations along a latitudinal transect,4) between Holocene and modern deer overall, and5) in Holocene and modern for open-classified and closed-classified deer.

Results indicated that size differences existed between open- and closed-classified deer in both Holocene and modern populations and that deer associated with open-habitat were larger. Shape differences between open- and closed-classified deer in the Holocene appear to be adapted to the environment, however, modern deer offered only limited insight and lacked consistence in variations. Results for variation thought time in Holocene deer indicated that size increased from Early to late Holocene in both the astragalus and calcaneus. Results for shape offered limited and mixed results. Results for variation in population along a latitudinal transect indicated that deer size increase from lower to higher latitudes. Results for shape differences between populations offered limited insight into variation. However, results for the calcaneal tuber functional region did indicated that deer become more open-adapted in relation to the southern population from lower to higher latitudes,. For the comparison of Holocene and modern deer size overall, only the astragalus indicated a clear variation between the two. The astragalus indicated that Holocene deer were larger than modern deer. Results for variation in shape between the two indicated little difference between the two except for the calcaneus, which indicated that modern deer were more open-adapted. Results for size differences in Holocene and modern for open-classified and closed-classified deer offered limited and mixed results. Results for shape differences were also limited; however, the calcaneus strongly indicated that modern closed-classified deer are more open-adapted than Holocene closed-classified deer.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Kohn, Luci Kohn A. P.
Commitee: Essner, Richard L., Holt, Julie, Schulz, Kurt
School: Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville
Department: Biological Sciences
School Location: United States -- Illinois
Source: MAI 54/05M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Morphology, Paleontology, Paleoecology
Keywords: Ecomorphology, Functional morphology, Holocene, White-tailed deer
Publication Number: 1589560
ISBN: 9781321774047
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