Of the 200 beetle species identified from Rocky Mountain Late Pleistocene insect faunal assemblages, 23% are no longer resident in this region. None of the 200 species is extinct. In contrast to this, only 8% of 73 identified mammal species from Rocky Mountain Late Pleistocene assemblages are no longer resident in the Rockies, and 12 species are now extinct. Since both groups of organisms are highly mobile, so it would appear that their responses to the large-scale fluctuations of climate associated with the last 125,000 years have been considerably different. Most strikingly contrasting with the insects, there are no mammals in the Rocky Mountain Late Pleistocene fossil record that are found exclusively today in the Pacific Northwest (PNW) region. The PNW does have a distinctive modern mammalian fauna, but only one of these, Keen’s Myotis, has a fossil record outside the PNW region, in the eastern and central United States. No modern PNW vertebrate species have been found in any Rocky Mountain fossil assemblages. Based on these data, it appears that there has been little or no mammalian faunal exchange between the PNW region and the Rocky Mountains during the Late Pleistocene or Holocene. This is in stark contrast to the fossil beetle record, where PNW species are a substantial component in many faunas, right through to the late Holocene.
- Quaternary Entomology Paleoenvironments Insect Fossils
- Rocky Mountains
- Vertebrate fossils