Exceptionally well preserved late Quaternary plant and vertebrate fossils from a blue hole on Abaco, the Bahamas

David W. Steadman, Richard Franz, Gary S. Morgan, Nancy A. Albury, Brian Kakuk, Kenneth Broad, Shelley E. Franz, Keith Tinker, Michael P. Pateman, Terry A. Lott, David M. Jarzen, David L. Dilcher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

64 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We report Quaternary vertebrate and plant fossils from Sawmill Sink, a "blue hole" (a water-filled sinkhole) on Great Abaco Island, The Bahamas. The fossils are well preserved because of deposition in anoxic salt water. Vertebrate fossils from peat on the talus cone are radiocarbon-dated from ≈4,200 to 1,000 cal BP (Late Holocene). The peat produced skeletons of two extinct species (tortoise Chelonoidis undescribed sp. and Caracara Caracara creightoni) and two extant species no longer in The Bahamas (Cuban crocodile, Crocodylus rhombifer; and Cooper's or Gundlach's Hawk, Accipiter cooperii or Accipiter gundlachii). A different, inorganic bone deposit on a limestone ledge in Sawmill Sink is a Late Pleistocene owl roost that features lizards (one species), snakes (three species), birds (25 species), and bats (four species). The owl roost fauna includes Rallus undescribed sp. (extinct; the first Bahamian flightless rail) and four other locally extinct species of birds (Cooper's/Gundlach's Hawk, A. cooperii/gundlachii; flicker Colaptes sp.; Cave Swallow, Petrochelidon fulva; and Eastern Meadowlark, Sturnella magna) and mammals (Bahamian hutia, Geocapromys ingrahami; and a bat, Myotis sp.). The exquisitely preserved fossils from Sawmill Sink suggest a grassy pineland as the dominant plant community on Abaco in the Late Pleistocene, with a heavier component of coppice (tropical dry evergreen forest) in the Late Holocene. Important in its own right, this information also will help biologists and government planners to develop conservation programs in The Bahamas that consider long-term ecological and cultural processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19897-19902
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume104
Issue number50
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 11 2007

Fingerprint

Bahamas
Hawks
Strigiformes
Vertebrates
Birds
Soil
Swallows
Alligators and Crocodiles
Talus
Turtles
Lizards
Snakes
Water
Calcium Carbonate
Islands
Skeleton
Mammals
Salts
Bone and Bones

Keywords

  • Birds
  • Crocodiles
  • Extinction
  • Islands
  • Tortoises

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General
  • Genetics

Cite this

Exceptionally well preserved late Quaternary plant and vertebrate fossils from a blue hole on Abaco, the Bahamas. / Steadman, David W.; Franz, Richard; Morgan, Gary S.; Albury, Nancy A.; Kakuk, Brian; Broad, Kenneth; Franz, Shelley E.; Tinker, Keith; Pateman, Michael P.; Lott, Terry A.; Jarzen, David M.; Dilcher, David L.

In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, Vol. 104, No. 50, 11.12.2007, p. 19897-19902.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Steadman, DW, Franz, R, Morgan, GS, Albury, NA, Kakuk, B, Broad, K, Franz, SE, Tinker, K, Pateman, MP, Lott, TA, Jarzen, DM & Dilcher, DL 2007, 'Exceptionally well preserved late Quaternary plant and vertebrate fossils from a blue hole on Abaco, the Bahamas', Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol. 104, no. 50, pp. 19897-19902. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0709572104
Steadman, David W. ; Franz, Richard ; Morgan, Gary S. ; Albury, Nancy A. ; Kakuk, Brian ; Broad, Kenneth ; Franz, Shelley E. ; Tinker, Keith ; Pateman, Michael P. ; Lott, Terry A. ; Jarzen, David M. ; Dilcher, David L. / Exceptionally well preserved late Quaternary plant and vertebrate fossils from a blue hole on Abaco, the Bahamas. In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2007 ; Vol. 104, No. 50. pp. 19897-19902.
@article{1ca23aade69c4587b65a3e5d7d615d6e,
title = "Exceptionally well preserved late Quaternary plant and vertebrate fossils from a blue hole on Abaco, the Bahamas",
abstract = "We report Quaternary vertebrate and plant fossils from Sawmill Sink, a {"}blue hole{"} (a water-filled sinkhole) on Great Abaco Island, The Bahamas. The fossils are well preserved because of deposition in anoxic salt water. Vertebrate fossils from peat on the talus cone are radiocarbon-dated from ≈4,200 to 1,000 cal BP (Late Holocene). The peat produced skeletons of two extinct species (tortoise Chelonoidis undescribed sp. and Caracara Caracara creightoni) and two extant species no longer in The Bahamas (Cuban crocodile, Crocodylus rhombifer; and Cooper's or Gundlach's Hawk, Accipiter cooperii or Accipiter gundlachii). A different, inorganic bone deposit on a limestone ledge in Sawmill Sink is a Late Pleistocene owl roost that features lizards (one species), snakes (three species), birds (25 species), and bats (four species). The owl roost fauna includes Rallus undescribed sp. (extinct; the first Bahamian flightless rail) and four other locally extinct species of birds (Cooper's/Gundlach's Hawk, A. cooperii/gundlachii; flicker Colaptes sp.; Cave Swallow, Petrochelidon fulva; and Eastern Meadowlark, Sturnella magna) and mammals (Bahamian hutia, Geocapromys ingrahami; and a bat, Myotis sp.). The exquisitely preserved fossils from Sawmill Sink suggest a grassy pineland as the dominant plant community on Abaco in the Late Pleistocene, with a heavier component of coppice (tropical dry evergreen forest) in the Late Holocene. Important in its own right, this information also will help biologists and government planners to develop conservation programs in The Bahamas that consider long-term ecological and cultural processes.",
keywords = "Birds, Crocodiles, Extinction, Islands, Tortoises",
author = "Steadman, {David W.} and Richard Franz and Morgan, {Gary S.} and Albury, {Nancy A.} and Brian Kakuk and Kenneth Broad and Franz, {Shelley E.} and Keith Tinker and Pateman, {Michael P.} and Lott, {Terry A.} and Jarzen, {David M.} and Dilcher, {David L.}",
year = "2007",
month = "12",
day = "11",
doi = "10.1073/pnas.0709572104",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "104",
pages = "19897--19902",
journal = "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America",
issn = "0027-8424",
number = "50",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Exceptionally well preserved late Quaternary plant and vertebrate fossils from a blue hole on Abaco, the Bahamas

AU - Steadman, David W.

AU - Franz, Richard

AU - Morgan, Gary S.

AU - Albury, Nancy A.

AU - Kakuk, Brian

AU - Broad, Kenneth

AU - Franz, Shelley E.

AU - Tinker, Keith

AU - Pateman, Michael P.

AU - Lott, Terry A.

AU - Jarzen, David M.

AU - Dilcher, David L.

PY - 2007/12/11

Y1 - 2007/12/11

N2 - We report Quaternary vertebrate and plant fossils from Sawmill Sink, a "blue hole" (a water-filled sinkhole) on Great Abaco Island, The Bahamas. The fossils are well preserved because of deposition in anoxic salt water. Vertebrate fossils from peat on the talus cone are radiocarbon-dated from ≈4,200 to 1,000 cal BP (Late Holocene). The peat produced skeletons of two extinct species (tortoise Chelonoidis undescribed sp. and Caracara Caracara creightoni) and two extant species no longer in The Bahamas (Cuban crocodile, Crocodylus rhombifer; and Cooper's or Gundlach's Hawk, Accipiter cooperii or Accipiter gundlachii). A different, inorganic bone deposit on a limestone ledge in Sawmill Sink is a Late Pleistocene owl roost that features lizards (one species), snakes (three species), birds (25 species), and bats (four species). The owl roost fauna includes Rallus undescribed sp. (extinct; the first Bahamian flightless rail) and four other locally extinct species of birds (Cooper's/Gundlach's Hawk, A. cooperii/gundlachii; flicker Colaptes sp.; Cave Swallow, Petrochelidon fulva; and Eastern Meadowlark, Sturnella magna) and mammals (Bahamian hutia, Geocapromys ingrahami; and a bat, Myotis sp.). The exquisitely preserved fossils from Sawmill Sink suggest a grassy pineland as the dominant plant community on Abaco in the Late Pleistocene, with a heavier component of coppice (tropical dry evergreen forest) in the Late Holocene. Important in its own right, this information also will help biologists and government planners to develop conservation programs in The Bahamas that consider long-term ecological and cultural processes.

AB - We report Quaternary vertebrate and plant fossils from Sawmill Sink, a "blue hole" (a water-filled sinkhole) on Great Abaco Island, The Bahamas. The fossils are well preserved because of deposition in anoxic salt water. Vertebrate fossils from peat on the talus cone are radiocarbon-dated from ≈4,200 to 1,000 cal BP (Late Holocene). The peat produced skeletons of two extinct species (tortoise Chelonoidis undescribed sp. and Caracara Caracara creightoni) and two extant species no longer in The Bahamas (Cuban crocodile, Crocodylus rhombifer; and Cooper's or Gundlach's Hawk, Accipiter cooperii or Accipiter gundlachii). A different, inorganic bone deposit on a limestone ledge in Sawmill Sink is a Late Pleistocene owl roost that features lizards (one species), snakes (three species), birds (25 species), and bats (four species). The owl roost fauna includes Rallus undescribed sp. (extinct; the first Bahamian flightless rail) and four other locally extinct species of birds (Cooper's/Gundlach's Hawk, A. cooperii/gundlachii; flicker Colaptes sp.; Cave Swallow, Petrochelidon fulva; and Eastern Meadowlark, Sturnella magna) and mammals (Bahamian hutia, Geocapromys ingrahami; and a bat, Myotis sp.). The exquisitely preserved fossils from Sawmill Sink suggest a grassy pineland as the dominant plant community on Abaco in the Late Pleistocene, with a heavier component of coppice (tropical dry evergreen forest) in the Late Holocene. Important in its own right, this information also will help biologists and government planners to develop conservation programs in The Bahamas that consider long-term ecological and cultural processes.

KW - Birds

KW - Crocodiles

KW - Extinction

KW - Islands

KW - Tortoises

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=38049117729&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=38049117729&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1073/pnas.0709572104

DO - 10.1073/pnas.0709572104

M3 - Article

C2 - 18077421

AN - SCOPUS:38049117729

VL - 104

SP - 19897

EP - 19902

JO - Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

JF - Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

SN - 0027-8424

IS - 50

ER -