What Happened to the Mega Fauna?

June 14, 2016. By Grant Keddie Large animals, such as mammoths, mastodons, horses and camels that roamed North America near the end of the ice age are referred to as mega-fauna. Why these large animals went extinct has been widely debated but answers are beginning to emerge. New information is showing the answer is more complex than previously thought. Both climate change and human hunting play a role at different times in different places. Expanding and Shrinking – Habitat and Genes Before the appearance of humans on the northern landscapes we see that ecosystem stability for animal species generally persisted over long periods of time. During repeated sudden climate changes over the last few hundred thousand years of the Pleistocene (2.6 … Continue reading “What Happened to the Mega Fauna?”

Taxonomy, location of origin and health status of proboscideans from Western Canada investigated using stable isotope analysis

ABSTRACT: We investigated the application of stable isotope analysis of proboscidean remains (collagen in bone/ dentin/cementum and structural carbonate in enamel bioapatite) for genus-level identification of isolated specimens, assessment of geographical origins, and testing for nutritional stress. Mammoths (Mammuthus sp.) tended to have higher d15Ncol and lower d13Ccol than mastodons (Mammut americanum), but differences were not significant in every location. Determining the genus of isolated specimens may be possible for locations and time periods with good isotopic baselines, but environmental changes can confound interpretations. For example, an Alberta proboscidean with a d15Ncol of +1.4%o (characteristic of mastodons) ultimately proved to be a mammoth. Its surprisingly low nitrogen isotope composition is attributable to the recently deglaciated environment it inhabited. We provided … Continue reading “Taxonomy, location of origin and health status of proboscideans from Western Canada investigated using stable isotope analysis”

The Late lce Age of Southern Vancouver Island

Originally published in The Midden 11(4), 16-22. October 1979. By Grant Keddie A radio carbon date of 17,000 B,P. on a mammoth bone, the first date from the Saanichton Gravels north of Victoria, provides new evidence that alters the previously suggested timing of glacial events on southern Vancouver Island. The precise timing of these glacial events is of importance for archaeologists because the events define the times during which animal and human populations could have inhabited the Island. The purpose of this paper is to give a brief overview of what is known about the last stages of the Wisconsin glacial period on southern Vancouver Island; to show how the new radiocarbon date fits into the sequence of events; and … Continue reading “The Late lce Age of Southern Vancouver Island”