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In quest of Great Lakes Ice Age vertebrates

J. Alan Holman

Publication Year: 2001

The first book of its kind, In Quest of Great Lakes Ice Age Vertebrates details the Ice Age fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals in the provinces and states surrounding the Great Lakes. Holman's work begins with definitions of concepts and terms for the general audience and a general discussion of how the last ice age, the Pleistocene Epoch, affected our physical and biological world. Methods employed and tools used in the collection of vertebrate fossils, as well as ethics and protocol in the maintenance of a useful collection follow, coupled with details of each animal's structure, habits, habitats, and ecological importance. The heart of the book is a species-by-species account of the Pleistocene vertebrates of the region, followed by an examination of the compelling problems of the Pleistocene relative to faunal interpretations, including overall ecological makeup of the region's fauna, vertebrate range adjustment that occurred in the region, Pleistocene extinction effects on the animals of the region, the aftermath of the Ice Age, and a look at what the future may hold for the region.

Published by: Michigan State University Press


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pp. v

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pp. vii

The last Ice Age (Pleistocene epoch) ended only about 140 human generations ago. It was characterized by gigantic, moving ice sheets that changed the face of the earth and a massive, worldwide extinction of large mammals. This book details the Pleistocene vertebrates: fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals ...

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pp. ix

I am especially grateful to the people who have shared their special knowledge and enthusiasm about Pleistocene vertebrates of the Great Lakes region with meā€”most of them in person and all of them through their publications and/or correspondence. Without their help this book could not have been written. ...

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1. Introduction

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pp. 1-9

From the human standpoint, the Ice Age (Pleistocene epoch) is the most important unit of geological time, for changes wrought during this short epoch still strongly influence almost every aspect of human life. The Pleistocene consisted of cold stages when massive ice sheets moved down into the Great Lakes region ...

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2. The Pleistocene Ice Age

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pp. 10-15

The Ice Age that I shall discuss in this book is confined to the Pleistocene epoch of the Quaternary period (see fig. 3). Other ice ages have occurred far back in time including the Permian and Ordovician periods and even in the Precambrian, where readily discernable glacial features may be observed in the rocks. ...

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3. The Pleistocene in the Great Lakes Region

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pp. 16-19

The Great Lakes region may divided into two subregions. Subregion I is the very large northern area presently mainly covered by glacially derived Wisconsinan sediments and dominated by Wisconsinan glacial topography. Subregion II is in a much smaller southern area beyond the limits of the Wisconsinan ice (fig. 9). ...

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4. Where to Find Vertebrate Fossils

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pp. 20-24

The Wisconsinan ice left countless thousands of kettles and other small, glacially derived basins in its wake. These features filled with sterile glacial meltwater and with sufficient passage of time developed into pond communities that supported a thriving biota of bacteria, protists (single-celled organisms), fungi, plants, and animals. ...

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5. Collecting the Fossils

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pp. 25-29

Ice Age vertebrate fossils are nonrenewable resources and invaluable scientific objects. Studies of Pleistocene vertebrates are significant in many ways. Not only are they necessary for the correlation of Pleistocene stages and land mammal ages, but they often reflect the patterns and processes of evolution. In some cases, vertebrate fossils indicate life patterns ...

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6. Dating the Fossils

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pp. 30-31

The most scientifically important Pleistocene vertebrate fossils are those that have absolute dates to go with them. Today, there are several methods of absolute dating of Pleistocene events. Dates based on a time scale arrived at by counting cyclic events such as the formation of yearly varves (layers of dark sediment deposited in a lake or pond) ...

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7. A Bestiary of Great Lakes Region Ice Age Vertebrates

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pp. 32-145

This chapter presents a systematic discussion of genera and species of Ice Age vertebrates known from the province and states surrounding the Great Lakes. References to the sites referred to in this chapter are listed alphabetically by author and date under provincial and state headings in the bibliography of chapters 7 and 8. ...

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8. Important Pleistocene Vertebrate Sites in the Great Lakes Region

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pp. 146-171

This chapter describes some important Pleistocene vertebrate sites in the Great Lakes region. Sites will be presented in chronological order from older to younger Pleistocene sequences. Emphasis will be on the larger sites that have yielded large vertebrate faunas and/or especially important species. ...

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9. Interpretation of the Fauna

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pp. 172-196

This chapter deals with the interpretation of the Pleistocene vertebrates of the Great Lakes region relative to the ecological structure of vertebrate communities, the two Pleistocene faunal subregions in the region, the vertebrate range adjustments that occurred, and the extinction of the large mammals at the end of the epoch. ...

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10. The Holocene and the Aftermath of the Ice Age

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pp. 197-198

Most of the world's scientists now agree that the epoch we call the Pleistocene ended about 10,000 years ago. The epoch that followed the Pleistocene, the one we are living in now, is called the Holocene. The event that marked the end of the Pleistocene was the extinction of a large number of families, ...


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pp. 199-205


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pp. 206-222

Illustration credits

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pp. 223-224


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pp. 225-230

E-ISBN-13: 9780870139277
Print-ISBN-13: 9780870135910

Page Count: 239
Publication Year: 2001