Proboscideans from US National Park Service Lands
Proboscideans from US National Park Service Lands

Jim I. Mead, Justin S. Tweet, Vincent L. Santucci, Jeffrey T. Rasic, and Sharon E. Holte

Abstract – Proboscideans (Mammalia, Proboscidea) are an ubiquitous part of North American ver-tebrate faunas throughout the Miocene, Pliocene, and Pleistocene. Here we discuss the fossil record of proboscideans found on public lands administered by the National Park Service (NPS), which is comprised of 419 units. At least 276 of these units contain some aspect of fossil heritage for the USA. We present 63 NPS units and affiliated areas that have records documenting fossil proboscideans. The geological and paleoecological diversity preserved and represented in these 63 units record fossils from Arctic to tropical and steppe to rainforest environments. This is an invaluable data set that has yet to be fully recognized. The information presented here, much of which has not been published, is intended as a compilation to support researchers.

Introduction
Since 1916, the National Park Service (NPS, US Department of the Interior) has been entrusted with the care of our national parks, and as their mission, they are to preserve un-impaired the natural and cultural resources. The official emblem contains the arrowhead, mountains, Sequoia tree, and bison which represent aspects of our natural and cultural re-sources and exemplify the overall mission. The National Park System covers more than 85 million acres and is comprised of 419 sites with at least 19 different designations, including 130 historical units, 87 monuments, 61 national parks along with a number of other types of units. In addition, the NPS recognizes, but does not manage, National Natural Landmarks (NNL), National Historic Landmarks (NHL), and other affiliated sites. These preserved and recognized localities represent a significant expanse of geographic area of the USA and em-body a tremendous aggregate of natural and cultural heritage to conserve and understand. The geological and paleoecological diversity preserved in these lands and represented in their fossil record (from Arctic to tropical, and steppe to rainforest) is noteworthy and an invaluable data set that has yet to be fully recognized and understood (see overview about fossils on federal lands in Liggett et al. 2018).

On March 30th, 2009 President Barack Obama signed the Paleontological Resource Pres-ervation Act into law authorizing five federal land managing agencies, including the NPS, to understand, preserve, and conserve their fossil resources (see discussion in Santucci 2017). At least 276 NPS units contain some aspect of our fossil heritage. Here we concentrate on the vertebrate resources preserved or recognized by our nation’s National Park System (ad-ministrated and affiliated) and focus on one iconic group of mega-mammals, the probosci-deans. To help better understand the evolution of Proboscidea in North America, we provide

1The Mammoth Site, 1800 Hwy 18 ByPass, Hot Springs, SD 57747; Desert Laboratory on Tumamoc Hill, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85745; and East Tennessee State University Natural History Museum, Johnson City, TN 37614, jmead@mammothsite.org; 928-853-6393. 2National Park Service, 9149 79th Street South, Cottage Grove, MN 55016, justin_tweet@nps.gov. 3National Park Service, Geologic Resources Division, 1849 “C” Street, Washington, DC, 20240, vincent_santucci@nps.gov. 4National Park Service, Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve, and Yukon-Charley rivers National Preserve, 4175 Geist Road, Fairbanks, AK 99709. 5The Mammoth Site, 1800 Hwy 18 ByPass, Hot Springs, SD 57747, sharonh@mammothsite.org. *Corresponding author: jmead@mammothsite.org.

 

Read the Full Research Paper Below

File name : Proboscideans-from-US-Natl-Park-Service-Lands.pdf

Saltpeter and Sloths

Saltpeter and Sloths

It was not long after Cuvier described the first fossil sloth, Megatherium, in 1796 that additional discoveries of fossil sloths were made. The next prominent discovery was not in South America as might be expected but instead in North America. The discovery of this...

The Discovery of Sloths: Strange Animals in a Strange New Land

The Discovery of Sloths: Strange Animals in a Strange New Land

When you have an animal named after one of the seven deadly sins, a common question is which came first, the animal or the sin? Geologically speaking, the credit goes to the animal, as the sloth lineage existed long before there were humans to give it any name. While...

Late Quaternary Chorus Frog

Late Quaternary Chorus Frog

Late Quaternary Chorus Frog (Pseudacris) from the Channel Islands, CaliforniaJim I. MeadMammoth Site of Hot Springs South Dakota, jmead@mammothsite.orgJustin WilkinsMammoth Site of Hot Springs South Dakota, justinw@mammothsite.orgPaul W. CollinsSanta Barbara Museum of...