Fossil Wood Rats of Porcupine Cave: Tectonic or Climatic Controls?

Charles A. Repenning

in Biodiversity Response to Climate Change in the Middle Pleistocene

Published by University of California Press

Published in print February 2004 | ISBN: 9780520240827
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520930858 | DOI:
Fossil Wood Rats of Porcupine Cave: Tectonic or Climatic Controls?

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This chapter discusses the criteria used to identify fossil specimens of wood rats from Porcupine Cave. More than 2,500 specimens, mostly isolated teeth, of Neotoma were examined from there. Modern and fossil species of Neotoma were used as comparative material and identifications were not considered firm unless at least two definitive characters affirmed them. Neotoma is a high-crowned cricetid rodent with roots on its teeth. Some exposure of the dentine is present in most wood rat species and produces dentine tracts, or waviness in the basal margin of the enamel. The degree of this development appears to be a consistent diagnostic character of the species of Neotoma and persists with wear.

Keywords: wood rats; Neotoma; Porcupine Cave; rodent; dentine tracts

Chapter.  10599 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Evolutionary Biology

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