Data from: Overprinting of taphonomic and paleoecological signals across the forest-prairie environmental gradient, mid-continent of North America
Milideo, Lauren E. et al. (2018), Data from: Overprinting of taphonomic and paleoecological signals across the forest-prairie environmental gradient, mid-continent of North America, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.s6fd5c6
Taphonomic factors may significantly alter faunal assemblages at varying scales. An exceptional record of late Holocene (< 4000 years old) mammal fanuas establishes a firm baseline to investigate the effects of scale on taphonomy. Our sample contains 73 sites within four contiguous states (North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, and Illinois, USA) that transect a strong modern and late Holocene environmental gradient, the prairie-forest ecotone. We performed Detrended Correspondence Analysis (DCA) and Non-metric Multidimensional Scaling (NMDS) analyses. Both DCA and NMDS analyses of the datasets produced virtually the same results, and both failed to reveal the known ecological gradient within each state. However, both DCA and NMDS analyses of the unfiltered multistate dataset across the entire gradient clearly reflect an environmental, rather than taphonomic, signal. DCA tended to provide better separation of some clusters than did NMDS in most of the analyses. We conclude that a large mammal dataset collected across a strong environmental gradient will document species turnover without the removal of taphonomic factors. In other words, taphonomy exhibits varying scale-dependent effects.
National Science Foundation, Award: NSF EAR 0948652 and EAR 0622349