By Jason A. Lillegraven, etc.
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Extra resources for Mesozoic Mammals - The First Two Thirds of Mammalian History
It is this set of remains from which measures of taxonomic abundance are derived. 1 is a schematic rendition of the typical differences between a biocoenose and the identified assemblage. A biocoenose is a biological community. One or more biocoenoses is the source of input to a thanatocoenose. The transition from biocoenose to thanatocoenose involves accumulation (and deposition) of faunal remains in a location; accumulation can be active (involve a bone-accumulating agent, such as a predator that transports prey to a den) or passive (involve deaths of animals across the landscape, referred to as “background accumulation” [Badgley 1986]).
Where taphonomy can influence quantitative paleozoology is noted throughout this volume, and it is occasionally suggested what we might do about those influences. The point here is that ratio scale measurements of faunal remains and many of their attributes may be precluded because of taphonomic history. Measured and Target Variables: Reliability and Validity Other important statistical concepts concern the difference between a measured variable and a target variable. A measured variable is what we actually measure, say, how many gray hairs I have on my head.
In any given collection of paleozoological remains, one might wish to know if carnivores are less abundant than herbivores, just as they normally are on the landscape. Given what he knew about ecological trophic structure – that herbivores should outnumber carnivores – imagine Stock’s surprise to learn that the typically observed food pyramid or ecological trophic structure was upside down. The mammalian remains from Rancho La Brea represented more carnivores than herbivores − for a reason that many paleontologists thought was a taphonomic reason – because scavenging carnivores got “bogged down” or mired in the sticky tar seeping from the ground and failed to escape.
Mesozoic Mammals - The First Two Thirds of Mammalian History by Jason A. Lillegraven, etc.