Paradigms and proboscideans in the southern Great Lakes region, USA

Jeffrey J. Saunders, Eric C. Grimm, Christopher C. Widga, G. Dennis Campbell, B. Brandon Curry, David A. Grimley, Paul R. Hanson, Judd P. McCullum, James S. Oliver, Janis D. Treworgy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Thirteen new chronometric dates for Illinois proboscideans are considered in relation to well-dated pollen records from northeastern and central Illinois. These dates span an interval from 21,228 to 12,944 cal BP. When compared to pollen spectra, it is evident that Mammut americanum inhabited spruce (Picea) and black ash (Fraxinus nigra) forest during the Bølling-Allerød (14,700-12,900 cal BP) and early Younger Dryas (12,900-11,650 cal BP) chronozones. Both Mammuthus jeffersonii and Mammuthus primigenius inhabited spruce dominated open-woodland during the Oldest Dryas chronozone, while M. primigenius persisted in a forest of predominantly black ash during the Allerød chronozone. A newly discovered specimen from Lincoln, IL, clarifies the taxonomic distinction between M. primigenius and M. jeffersonii. Hitherto, a paradigm of proboscidean succession during the full- to late-glacial periods was based on the vegetation succession of steppe tundra-like vegetation to spruce forest to spruce-deciduous forest. The presumed proboscidean succession was that of cold, dry steppe-adapted M. primigenius succeeded by more mesic-tolerant M. jeffersonii that in turn was succeeded by the wet forest-adapted M. americanum. Reported data do not support this view and indicate a need for re-evaluation of assumptions of proboscidean ecology and history, e.g., the environmental tolerances and habits of M. primigenius in regions south of 55°N, and its dynamic relationship with other proboscidean taxa.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)175-187
Number of pages13
JournalQuaternary International
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Apr 15 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Earth-Surface Processes

Cite this