Variation and pattern in the responses of mammal faunas to Late Pleistocene climatic change in southeastern South Australia

Amy Macken, Gavin Prideaux, Elizabeth Reed

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    11 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    We examined mammal occurrence and variability through the Late Pleistocene vertebrate fossil deposit of Grant Hall in Victoria Fossil Cave, Naracoorte, South Australia. To determine long-term patterns of change, we compared the composition and relative abundance trends of the assemblage with a nearby Middle Pleistocene deposit in Cathedral Cave. Total species richness did not change through the Grant Hall sequence, dated from 93±8 to 70±5ka. However, species relative abundances varied between ecologically divergent species, and in some cases between species that demonstrate similar environmental preferences. For some species this variation is comparable to that recorded in Cathedral Cave. Of those showing similar trends between the two deposits, the forest inhabitant, Pseudomys fumeus, recorded an 8.6% decline through Grant Hall, coincident with a 9.7% increase in the dry heath/mallee dweller Pseudomys apodemoides. These patterns indicate that climatic transition from relatively warm, moist to cooler, drier conditions impacted some species in similar ways through climatic cycles of the past. However, the majority of the fauna demonstrated complex responses that are individual and variable through time. Statistical tests of species trends from the Grant Hall assemblage caution that large fossil samples are required to validate patterns observed.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)415-424
    Number of pages10
    JournalJournal of Quaternary Science
    Volume27
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2012

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