Geochronological and taxonomic revisions of the middle Eocene Whistler Squat Quarry (Devil's Graveyard Formation, Texas) and implications for the early Uintan in Trans-Pecos Texas

Christopher J Campisano, E Christopher Kirk, K E Beth Townsend, Alan L Deino
PloS One 2014, 9 (7): e101516
The Whistler Squat Quarry (TMM 41372) of the lower Devil's Graveyard Formation in Trans-Pecos Texas is a middle Eocene fossil locality attributed to Uintan biochronological zone Ui1b. Specimens from the Whistler Squat Quarry were collected immediately above a volcanic tuff with prior K/Ar ages ranging from ∼47-50 Ma and below a tuff previously dated to ∼44 Ma. New 40Ar/39Ar analyses of both of the original tuff samples provide statistically indistinguishable ages of 44.88±0.04 Ma for the lower tuff and 45.04±0.10 Ma for the upper tuff. These dates are compatible with magnetically reversed sediments at the site attributable to C20r (43.505-45.942 Ma) and a stratigraphic position above a basalt dated to 46.80 Ma. Our reanalysis of mammalian specimens from the Whistler Squat Quarry and a stratigraphically equivalent locality significantly revises their faunal lists, confirms the early Uintan designation for the sites, and highlights several biogeographic and biochronological differences when compared to stratotypes in the Bridger and Uinta Formations. Previous suggestions of regional endemism in the early Uintan are supported by the recognition of six endemic taxa (26% of mammalian taxa) from the Whistler Squat Quarry alone, including three new taxa. The revised faunal list for the Whistler Squat Quarry also extends the biostratigraphic ranges of nine non-endemic mammalian taxa to Ui1b.

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