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Kansas Geological Survey, Open-file Report 2000-61

The Meade Basin Rodent Project: A Progress Report

by Robert A. Martin, James G. Honey, and Pablo Peláez-Campomanes


Current knowledge regarding the stratigraphy and mammalian paleontology of the Meade County area of southwestern Kansas is provided. Stratigraphic nomenclature of the Rexroad, Ballard, Crooked Creek Formations and late Pleistocene basin-fill deposits is reviewed. A list of mammal species from many localities in the later Cenozoic of southwestern Kansas is presented, and the families are evaluated for their potential contribution to biochronologic and evolutionary investigations. New Blancan localities, some in superposition, have been recovered from the Rexroad Formation in the area of Keefe Canyon. Excavations from sediments directly above the source of the Deer Park local fauna have produced a diverse rodent assemblage. Another newly discovered series of sites in the Borchers Badlands, between the lower Huckleberry Ridge ash (2.10 Ma) and the higher Cerro Toledo B ash (1.23-1.47 Ma), spans the Pliocene-Pleistocene and Blancan-Irvingtonian boundaries. New basin-fill Rancholabrean localities in Clark County have spurred us to conisider the problem of extrapolating the Vanhem and Kingsdown Formation nomenclature of Clark County to similar age beds in Meade County. Although many thorny stratigraphic and systematic puzzles remain, preliminary results are encouraging, and suggest that the later Cenozoic faunas of southwestern Kansas offer an unparalleled opportunity to examine the evolution of rodent community structure through at least the last five million years.

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Kansas Geological Survey
Placed online Nov. 4, 2011; originally released Oct. 2000
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