Crossing Boundaries: Lubbock Lake Landmark as a Laboratory for the Study of Vertebrate Evolution

Author(s): Patrick Lewis

Year: 2016


The unique characteristics of the Lubbock Lake Landmark offer a rare opportunity to ask questions about how vertebrates respond to changes in the environment. In order to address such questions in the fossil record several qualities are required including a continuous sequence of fossils, reliable dates for the stratigraphic layers, large sample sizes of well preserved and homogenous skeletal elements, and a detailed understanding of the environmental conditions associated with each stratigraphic level. A locality possessing such qualities allows for skeletal anatomy to be placed in environmental context and for hypotheses about the interaction of changing environmental conditions and bone anatomy to be addressed. Dr. Eileen Johnson recognized early that these conditions were present at the Lubbock Lake Landmark and began exploring the impact of the changing conditions at the end of the last ice age on the vertebrates preserved there. She has examined such changes at the level of the fauna, the taxon, and the character. In her work, she has shown how muskrat dentition changed in response to the warming, drying conditions of the Holocene, and how the bison of the Southern High Plains decreased body size in response to the changing grasslands.

Cite this Record

Crossing Boundaries: Lubbock Lake Landmark as a Laboratory for the Study of Vertebrate Evolution. Patrick Lewis. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 403310)



Geographic Keywords
North America - Plains

Spatial Coverage

min long: -113.95; min lat: 30.751 ; max long: -97.163; max lat: 48.865 ;