Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis

First Advisor

H. Thomas Goodwin


The enamel of teeth may be corroded after death, especially if the teeth pass through the digestive tract of a predator with low gastric pH. This study characterized enamel corrosion of fossil squirrel teeth from two species (Otospermophilus rexroadensis and Ictidomys meadensis) obtained from the Fox Canyon locality of Kansas. Using microscopic imaging, I categorized teeth based on corrosion level. Overall, 45% of specimens exhibited heavy to extreme corrosion. There were no significant differences in the distribution of corrosion categories between both upper and lower teeth of either species (O. rexroadensis: X2 (3, N = 140) = .562, p= .905; I. meadensis: X2 (3, N = 327) = 5.855, p= .119). However, there was a significant difference in the distribution of corrosion categories between the two species (X2 (3, N = 467) = 8.321, p= .040); teeth of I. meadensis more frequently displayed heavy to extreme corrosion than teeth of O. rexroadensis. These findings suggest that these species had different taphonomic pathways, with specimens of I. meadensis more commonly passing through the guts of predators.

Subject Area

Teeth, Fossil--Erosion; Ground squirrels; Fox County (KS)

Presentation Record URL


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Biology Commons