Date of Award

3-30-2016

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Department

Biology

First Advisor

H. Thomas Goodwin

Abstract

Hibernation is a widespread phenomenon present across mammalian taxa, including in many ground-dwelling squirrels (family Sciuridae). Prior work has shown that a hibernation mark can be identified in the ever-growing incisors of these ground squirrels through surface inspection. In this study, we inspected fossil incisors, originating from the Great Plains, from the C.W. Hibbard collection at the University of Michigan for features associated with hibernation marks in modern species. We noted hibernation mark-like features in several fossil ground squirrel incisors from the genera Otospermophilus, “Spermophilus”, and Urocitellus, ranging stratigraphically from the early Pliocene to the late Pleistocene and providing the oldest known record of hibernation for ground squirrels.

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