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Georgia Journal of Science

Article Title

DESCRIPTION OF EOCENE-AGED MAMMAL FOSSILS FROM WILKINSON COUNTY, GEORGIA

Abstract

Eocene-aged fossils are known from many localities across the United States (US) with the richest beds being found in the western US. However, descriptions of Eocene-aged terrestrial mammal fossils from the southeastern US are rare, and particularly so in the Eocene sediments of Georgia. The materials analyzed in this study were obtained from several years (1998 to 2005) of surface collecting in fossiliferous sediments exposed in an inactive kaolin mine in Wilkinson County, central Georgia. At this locality, the removal of overburden and excavation of kaolinite has exposed Eocene-aged sediments of the Clinchfield Formation. The Clinchfield sediments represent deposits laid down in a near-shore environment and contain a variety of invertebrate and vertebrate fossils. The vertebrate material described to date includes numerous species of sharks, a chimaeroid fish, a colubrid snake, two genera of paleopheid snakes, five species of turtles, and an auk. Fossils of terrestrial mammals from this unit have not been previously described. Here we describe a small collection of fossilized teeth or tooth fragments representing four mammalian taxa. Although limited in diversity, this collection represents the most diverse Eocene-aged mammalian fauna described for the state. The taxa recovered from this locality include a carnivore, lagomorph (rabbit), brothotherid (large herbivore), and primitive rhinoceros.

Acknowledgements

Georgia College Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences

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