Using mammalian fossils from the McGuire Creek area of northeastern Montana, I am tracking changes in mammalian faunal turnover through the first ~500,000 years following the Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-Pg) mass extinction event. With metrics including taxonomic richness, evenness, and heterogeneity, as well as correspondence and cluster analyses, and high-precision Ar/Ar radiometric dating techniques, this work seeks to understand the tempo and mode of mammalian biotic recovery in NE Montana during the critical period of time following the extinction of non-avian dinosaurs.
I am executing this work in collaboration with geochronologists Dr. Courtney Sprain (University of Leeds) and Dr. Paul Renne (Berkeley Geochronology Center), my graduate advisor Dr. Greg Wilson (University of Washington), Dr. Bill Clemens (University of California, Berkeley) and Donald L. Lofgren (Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology).
Our work has been supported by the American Philosophical Society, American Society of Mammalogists, University of Washington Department of Biology, and University of California Museum of Paleontology Doris O. and Samuel P. Welles Research Fund.
Smith, S.M., Sprain, C.S., Clemens, W.A., Lofgren, D.L., Renne, P.R., and Wilson, G.P. In press. Mammalian recovery following the end-Cretaceous mass extinction: A high-resolution view from McGuire Creek, Montana, USA. Geological Society of America Bulletin.