Systematics of entoptychine gophers

 

Genera

I am working with Jenny Glusman, a former undergraduate in Biology at the University of Washington, on the systematics of entoptychine gophers from Cabbage Patch. We are studying the shape of the last upper molar (and other diagnostic teeth) of this group of fossil gophers abundant in the Cabbage Patch beds and the John Day Formation using geometric morphometrics. We are specifically investigating how well the shape of the diagnostic cheek teeth can help differentiate fossil entoptychine taxa. We are using  modern geomyine gopher species to validate our approach. The end goal is to be able to determine the geographic and temporal range of entoptychine gophers in the northern United States around the Oligo-Miocene boundary.

Preliminary results of this work were presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Cenozoic Research and recently at the Annual Meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology.

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