Determination of mode of death of John Day Merycoidodontidae (Oreodontidae) by populaton age structure analysis Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/s4655k99d

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  • Volcanic activity during the Tertiary has long been held responsible for the deaths and subsequent fossilization of the vertebrate populations of the John Day region in Oregon. Oreodonts as plains or savannah dwelling ruminant herbivores, were likely to have been subject to potential exposure throughout their lifetime to volcanic debris and gasses. However, statistical comparisons of oreodont and recent ruminant populations indicate that other natural causes (e.g. predation) were more influential factors in the deaths of the oreodonts than cataclysmic volcanic activity. Assumptions that allowed such comparisons to have been made included 1) oreodonts exhibited a similar life style, and had similar aye classes and age distributions as extant ruminants thought to occupy generally similar habitats. 2) Fossilization processes at John Day were assumed not to have radically altered the proportions of the various age classes at death although some differential preservation of mature and older individuals may have occurred.
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