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Porter, Lee, 1984

Late Pleistocene fauna of Lost Chicken Creek, Alaska

Bibliographic Reference

Porter, Lee, 1984, Late Pleistocene fauna of Lost Chicken Creek, Alaska: Pullman, Washington, Washington State University, Ph.D. dissertation, 200 p., illust.


The fossil remains of one invertebrate and sixteen vertebrate genera have been recovered from Late Quaternary sediments of a large placer gold mine in east-central Alaska. Forty-six of 1,055 fossils were recovered in situ from nine stratigraphic units at the Lost Chicken Creek Mine, Alaska. The fossils range in age from approximately 1,400 yr BP (Alces alces Linnaeus), to greater than 50,400 yr BP (Equus Asinus lambei Hay; Rangifer tarandus Linnaeus; Ovibovini cf. Symbos cavifrons Leidy; and Bison priscus Bojanus). The assemblage includes a rare occurrence of gallinaceous birds (Lagopus sp., Ptarmigan), wolverine (Gulo gulo Linnaeus), the extinct American lion (Panthera leo atrox Linnaeus), collared lemmings (Dicrostonyx torquatus Pallas), and Saiga antelope (Saiga tatarica Linnaeus). Human involvement with the assemblage is suggested for some unknown time prior to 11,000 yr BP, from residual evidence on the fossil bones. Sediments at Lost Chicken Creek consist of 37 vertical meters of sandy silt, pebbly sand, gravel, and peat of fluvial, colluvial, and eolian origins. Four episodes of fluvial deposition have alternated sequentially throughout the late Wisconsinan with periods of eolian deposition and erosion. Solifluction has created a disturbed biostratigraphy at the site, yielding a fauna that must be considered a thanatocoenosis. The stratigraphy of Lost Chicken Creek is strikingly similar in major features to that of three, coeval Beringian localities: Canyon Creek, Alaska, Eva Creek, Alaska, and Mamontova Gora, Yakutia, U.S.S.R.

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