Sunday, September 11, 2016

Port Kennedy Bone Cave supplement

The National Fossil Day monthly feature for September is Port Kennedy Bone Cave (archival link here; added 2017-03-27), in Valley Forge National Historical Park. There is a Pleistocene theme this year, and caves are great for Pleistocene fossils. Port Kennedy Cave is the second cave-based feature I've written this year, after Rampart Cave, and the third cave feature total (we've also got Gypsum Cave). We've still got three months to go, and I could certainly see some more caves in there. Anyway, I'm writing this to direct you to a story on an unusual site (you get middle Pleistocene mammals, Edward Drinker Cope, Valley Forge, a rumored buried train, and bone preservation compared to "over-ripe pears"), and provide some supplementary material on the species described from the fissure.

It's mentioned in the feature that 49 species have been named from fossils from Port Kennedy Bone Cave, but only about 15 of the vertebrate species still have any currency. Cope got some decent mileage of the bones at the beginning and end of his career, and his final study on the cave fossils was incomplete at his death, published posthumously (Cope 1899). As with any posthumous work, undoubtedly he would have done some things differently if he was still in the material realm, but we work with what we've got. I've listed species alphabetically under the various publications, with notes on the type material and modern designations, which of course are subject to change. AMNH = American Museum of Natural History, ANSP = Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University (formerly of Philadelphia, hence the "P"). If you dig into the mammal synonymies, it often turns out that the Port Kennedy species should have priority, but at this time correcting these is not my trade.

Beetles

All of the beetles were named in Horn (1876) except for Pterostichnus laevigatus (Scudder 1890, based on a name Horn considered but did not use), and the type material for all is missing.
Aphodius precursor
Chlaenius punctulatus
Choeridium? ebeninum
Cychrus minor
Cychrus wheatleyi
Cymindis aurora
Dicaelus alutaceus
Phanaeus antiquus
Pterostichus laevigatus

Vertebrates

Cope 1871

Arvicola (Anaptogonia) hiatidens
Rodent (muskrat), based on AMNH FM 8698, now considered a synonym of Ondatra idahoensis

Arvicola (Isodelta) speothen
Rodent (vole), based on AMNH FM 8689, now considered a synonym of Microtus guildayi

Arvicola (Pitymys) didelta
Rodent (vole), based on AMNH FM 8694 (lectotype), now considered dubious

Arvicola (Pitymys) involuta
Rodent, based on AMNH FM 8699a, now considered dubious

Arvicola (Pitymys) sigmodus
Rodent (vole), based on AMNH FM 8696, now considered a synonym of Microtus guildayi

Arvicola (Pitymys) tetradelta
Rodent (vole), based on AMNH FM 8692, now considered a synonym of Microtus guildayi

Erithizon cloacinum
Porcupine, based on AMNH FM 8576; Cope consistently misspelled the genus (it should be Erethizon); now considered a synonym of Erethizon dorsatum

Megalonyx sphenodon
Ground sloth, based on AMNH FM 8647, now considered a synonym of Megalonyx wheatleyi

Megalonyx tortulus
Ground sloth, based on AMNH FM 8645, now considered a synonym of Megalonyx wheatleyi

Megalonyx wheatleyi
Ground sloth, per AMNH collections database based on AMNH FM 8633 (some question about type, per Spamer et al. 1995)

Praotherium palatinum
Pika, based on AMNH FM 8574

Sciurus calycinus
Tree squirrel, based on AMNH FM 8577

Cope 1880

Smilodon gracilis
Saber-toothed cat, based on ANSP 47.5

Cope 1895

Crocuta inexpectata
American cheetah (originally described as a member of the hyena family), based on ANSP 52, now known as Miracinonyx inexpectatus

Uncia mercerii
Saber-toothed cat, based on ANSP 50 (syntypes), now considered a synonym of Smilodon gracilis

Cope 1896

Anaptogonia cloacina
Rodent (muskrat), based on ANSP 147 (4 syntype teeth), now considered a synonym of Ondatra idahoensis

Cariacus laevicornis
Deer, based on ANSP 41, 42, and 18933 (syntypes?), now known as Odocoileus laevicornis

Lutra rhoadsii
Otter, based on ANSP 61, now considered a synonym of Lontra canadensis

Mephitis fossidens
Skunk, based on ANSP 69, now considered a synonym of Osmotherium spelaeum

Mephitis orthostichus
Skunk, based on ANSP 71 (lectotype), now considered a synonym of Osmotherium spelaeum

Microtus diluvianus
Rodent (muskrat), based on ANSP 144, now known as Neofiber diluvianus

Osmotherium spelaeum
Skunk, based on ANSP 67

Pelycictis lobulatus
Skunk, based on ANSP 66 (missing), now considered a synonym of Osmotherium spelaeum

Ursus haplodon
Bear, based on ANSP 85 (lectotype), now considered a synonym of Arctodus pristinus

Cope 1899

Blarina simplicidens
Shrew, based on ANSP 150

Canis priscolatrans
Canine, based on ANSP 57, now considered a synonym of Canis rufus

Clemmys percrassus
Tortoise, based on ANSP 152 (lectotype), now known as Geochelone percrassa

Equus fraternus var. pectinatus
Horse, based on ANSP 30, now known as Equus pectinatus

Lynx calcaratus
Bobcat, based on ANSP 54-56 (syntypes), now considered a synonym of Lynx rufus

Megalonyx scalper
Ground sloth, based on ANSP 184, now considered a synonym of Megalonyx wheatleyi

Mephitis leptops
Skunk, based on ANSP 75, now considered a synonym of Osmotherium spelaeum

Mephitis obtusatus
Skunk, based on ANSP 18906 (may be seen as 15672), now known as Brachyprotoma obtusata

Mustela diluviana
Marten, based on ANSP 65 (syntypes), now known as Martes diluviana

Mylohyus tetragonus
Peccary, based on ANSP 108, now considered a synonym of Mylohyus fossilis

Schistodelta sulcata
Rodent (muskrat), based on ANSP 140, now considered a synonym of Neofiber diluvianus

Teleopternus orientalis
Camel or deer, based on ANSP 38 and 39 (syntypes)

Toxaspsis anguillulatus
Turtle, based on ANSP 155, now considered a synonym of Terrapene carolina

Vulpes latidentatus
Fox, based on ANSP 60, probably a synonym of Urocyon cinereoargenteus

Zamenis acuminatus
Snake, based on missing type material

Simpson 1945

Tapirus copei
Tapir, based on ANSP 178, now considered a synonym of Tapirus haysii

Miscellaneous

Finally, per Spamer et al. (1995), Cope had intended at one point to name another rodent, "Evotomys foliatus", based on ANSP 143 and 145. Perhaps he changed his mind or he died before drafting the description.

References (with a couple of bonus references thrown in)


Cope, E. D. 1871. Preliminary report on the vertebrata discovered in the Port Kennedy Bone Cave. Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 12:73-102.

Cope, E. D. 1880. On the extinct cats of America. American Naturalist 14(12):833-858.

Cope, E. D. 1895. The fossil Vertebrata from the fissure at Port Kennedy. Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia 47:446-450.

Cope, E. D. 1896. New and little known Mammalia from the Port Kennedy bone deposit. Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia 48:378-394.

Cope, E. D. 1899. Vertebrate remains from Port Kennedy bone deposit. Journal of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, 2nd series, 11(3):193-286.

Horn, G. H. 1876. Notes on some coleopterous remains from the bone cave at Port Kennedy, Penna. Transactions of the American Entomological Society 5:241-245.

Mercer, H. C. 1899. The bone cave at Port Kennedy, Pennsylvania, and its partial excavation in 1894, 1895, and 1896. Journal of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia 11:269–286.

Scudder, S. H. 1890. The Tertiary insects of North America. Report of the United States Geological Survey of the Territories 13:1-734.

Simpson, G. G. 1945. Notes on Pleistocene and Recent tapirs. Bulletins of the American Museum of Natural History 86(2):33-81.

Spamer, E. E., E. Daeschler, and L. G. Vostreys-Shapiro. 1995. A study of fossil vertebrate types in the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia: taxonomic, systematic, and historical perspectives. The Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia Special Publication 16.

Wheatley, C. M. 1871. Notice of the discovery of a cave in eastern Pennsylvania containing remains of post-Pliocene fossils, including those of Mastodon, Tapir, Megalonyx, Mylodon, etc.. American Journal of Science and Arts, series 3, 1:235-237.

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