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Review and New Data on the Port Kennedy Local Fauna and Flora (Late Irvingtonian), Valley Forge National Historical Park, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania

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A late Irvingtonian assemblage of fossils at Port Kennedy, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania (today within the Valley Forge National Historical Park) was discovered in a filled solution feature first exposed in a quarry wall in 1870. The remnants of the deposit are buried today. Yielding specimens mostly of vertebrates, but including plants and beetle fragments, the deposit was well-studied by scientists of the late 1800s, most notably Edward Cope. In the last century, only systematically focused papers and reviews of Pleistocene faunas have discussed the Port Kennedy fossils. Mention of the plant material is made only in passing, and nothing more has been said of the (now missing) insect specimens. Furthermore, nothing has been discussed of the geology and taphonomy of the deposit and its fossils with the perspective of current geologic principles. This paper summarizes in this more modern view the known information about the deposit and its fossils. Revised and new information on taxonomy and status of specimens is provided, including new records and notice of the recovery of the holotype of the skunk Brachyprotoma obtusata (Cope, 1899) (Mammalia: Carnivora).
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... Plains; examples include Conard Fissure, Arkansas (Brown 1908;Graham 1972); Cumberland Cave, Maryland (Gidley 1913(Gidley , 1920a(Gidley , 1920bGidley andGazin 1933, 1938;Nicholas 1953;Van der Meulen 1978); Trout Cave No. 2, West Virginia (Pfaff 1990(Pfaff , 1991; and possibly Port Kennedy Cave, Pennsylvania (Wheatley 1871;Cope 1871;Daeschler et al. 1993;Hibbard 1955b). The Pit Fauna in Porcupine Cave, Colorado (Bell and Barnosky 2000); Cathedral Cave, Nevada (Bell 1995;Bell and Barnosky 2000); and some of the faunal components of Hansen Bluff, Colorado (Rogers et al. 1985(Rogers et al. , 1992, and SAM Cave, New Mexico (Rogers et al. 2000), may also be considered to be Cudahyan. ...
... External age control is lacking for these sites, and estimates of their age vary widely. Three such deposits were discovered in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and provided early glimpses of middle Pleistocene mammals from the east: Port Kennedy Cave (perhaps more properly considered as a sinkhole) in Pennsylvania (Wheatley 1871;Cope 1871;Daeschler et al. 1993), Conard Fissure in Arkansas (Brown 1908;Graham 1972), and Cumberland Cave in Maryland (Gidley 1913(Gidley , 1920a(Gidley , 1920bGidley andGazin 1933, 1938;Nicholas 1953;Van der Meulen 1978). The Port Kennedy Cave Fauna includes Megalonyx wheatleyi, Arctodus pristinus, Panthera onca, Miracinonyx inexpectatus, Smilodon gracilis (possibly the youngest occurrence in North America), Tapirus haysii, Mylohyus nasutus, and Mammut americanum (Berta 1987;Daeschler et al. 1993;Van Valkenburgh et al. 1990;Seymour 1993). ...
... Three such deposits were discovered in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and provided early glimpses of middle Pleistocene mammals from the east: Port Kennedy Cave (perhaps more properly considered as a sinkhole) in Pennsylvania (Wheatley 1871;Cope 1871;Daeschler et al. 1993), Conard Fissure in Arkansas (Brown 1908;Graham 1972), and Cumberland Cave in Maryland (Gidley 1913(Gidley , 1920a(Gidley , 1920bGidley andGazin 1933, 1938;Nicholas 1953;Van der Meulen 1978). The Port Kennedy Cave Fauna includes Megalonyx wheatleyi, Arctodus pristinus, Panthera onca, Miracinonyx inexpectatus, Smilodon gracilis (possibly the youngest occurrence in North America), Tapirus haysii, Mylohyus nasutus, and Mammut americanum (Berta 1987;Daeschler et al. 1993;Van Valkenburgh et al. 1990;Seymour 1993). The Conard Fissure Fauna contains Microtus paroperarius, Microtus llanensis (= Pedomys), Ondatra annectens, Miracinonyx inexpectatus, Smilodon populator (possibly the earliest known occurrence), and possibly Panthera onca (Graham 1972;Van Valkenburgh et al. 1990;Seymour 1993). ...
... VAFO includes Port Kennedy Bone Cave, one of several notable Irvingtonian Land Mammal Age bone caves in the eastern states. This cave, a sinkhole in the Cambrian Ledger Formation, was encountered by quarrymen in 1870, with one of the first recognized fossils being a Mammut molar (Daeschler et al. 1993). Fossils were removed in 1870 and 1894-1896, and were described by Cope (1871Cope ( , 1895Cope ( , 1896Cope ( , 1899, Wheatley (1871), and Mercer (1899). ...
... Fossils were removed in 1870 and 1894-1896, and were described by Cope (1871Cope ( , 1895Cope ( , 1896Cope ( , 1899, Wheatley (1871), and Mercer (1899). After this series of early publications the site sank into obscurity with its location lost until investigations in the 1990s and 2000s (Daeschler et al. 1993(Daeschler et al. , 2005. Proboscideans at the cave are represented by Mammut americanum, notably "a high proportion of juvenile and sub-adult individuals" (Daeschler et al. 1993:37). ...
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Proboscideans (Mammalia, Proboscidea) are an ubiquitous part of North American vertebrate faunas throughout the Miocene, Pliocene, and Pleistocene. Here we discuss the fossil record of proboscideans found on public lands administered by the National Park Service (NPS), which is comprised of 419 units. At least 276 of these units contain some aspect of fossil heritage for the USA. We present 63 NPS units and affiliated areas that have records documenting fossil proboscideans. The geological and paleoecological diversity preserved and represented in these 63 units record fossils from Arctic to tropical and steppe to rainforest environments. This is an invaluable data set that has yet to be fully recognized. The information presented here, much of which has not been published, is intended as a compilation to support researchers.
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... Daeschler, Lamanna & Carfioli (2005) summarized the literature that discussed this significant Pleistocene site and in addition tentatively located the site's location. The cave, in addition to yielding specimens of large carnivores and herbivores such as the giant ground sloth Megalonyx wheatleyi and Smilodon gracilis, has produced the remains of a variety of small mammals and few different species of snakes, turtles, and tortoises (Cope, 1871;Wheatleyi, 8171;Cope, 1895;Mercer, 1895;Mercer, 1899;Cope, 1899;Kurten & Anderson, 1980;Daeschler, Spamer & Parris, 1993;Gallagher, 1997). It is likely that the Pleistocene fauna of Monmouth County was somewhat similar to that at Port Kennedy. ...
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... The vertebra is also important as it affirms that the Pleistocene sediments alongside Ramanessin Brook are able to produce smaller specimens of vertebrates in addition to the already documented specimens of megafauna (Gallagher, 1997) Park (Cope, 1871;Wheatleyi, 8171;Cope, 1895;Mercer, 1895;Mercer, 1899;Cope, 1899;Kurten & Anderson, 1980;Daeschler, Spamer & Parris, 1993). Daeschler, Lamanna & Carfioli (2005) summarized the literature which discussed this significant Pleistocene site and in addition tentatively located the site's location. ...
... Daeschler, Lamanna & Carfioli (2005) summarized the literature which discussed this significant Pleistocene site and in addition tentatively located the site's location. The cave, in addition to yielding specimens of large carnivores and herbivores such as the giant ground sloth Megalonyx wheatleyi and Smilodon gracilis, has produced the remains of a variety of small mammals and few different species of snakes, turtles, and tortoises (Cope, 1871;Wheatleyi, 8171;Cope, 1895;Mercer, 1895;Mercer, 1899;Cope, 1899;Kurten & Anderson, 1980;Daeschler, Spamer & Parris, 1993;Gallagher, 1997). It is likely that the Pleistocene fauna of Monmouth County was somewhat similar to that at Port Kennedy. ...
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The snapping turtle species Chelydra serpentina, which has a wide range across North America, is extremely tolerant to cold and even freezing conditions. Here, I describe a single caudal vertebrae referred to Chelydra serpentina from the Late Pleistocene of New Jersey which represents the northernmost known occurrence of the species in eastern North America and the closest known occurrence of the species to a glacier or ice sheet in the continent during the Pleistocene. The specimen, which was collected at Ramanessin Brook in Holmdel, New Jersey, affirms that the Pleistocene deposits which line the banks of the popular Cretaceous site are not taphonomically biased to preserving larger fossils and in the future may yield an assemblage of small vertebrates.
... The vertebra is also important as it affirms that the Pleistocene sediments alongside Ramanessin Brook are able to produce smaller specimens of vertebrates in addition to the already documented specimens of megafauna (Gallagher, 1997) Park (Cope, 1871;Wheatleyi, 8171;Cope, 1895;Mercer, 1895;Mercer, 1899;Cope, 1899;Kurten & Anderson, 1980;Daeschler, Spamer & Parris, 1993). Daeschler, Lamanna & Carfioli (2005) summarized the literature which discussed this significant Pleistocene site and in addition tentatively located the site's location. ...
... Daeschler, Lamanna & Carfioli (2005) summarized the literature which discussed this significant Pleistocene site and in addition tentatively located the site's location. The cave, in addition to yielding specimens of large carnivores and herbivores such as the giant ground sloth Megalonyx wheatleyi and Smilodon gracilis, has produced the remains of a variety of small mammals and few different species of snakes, turtles, and tortoises (Cope, 1871;Wheatleyi, 8171;Cope, 1895;Mercer, 1895;Mercer, 1899;Cope, 1899;Kurten & Anderson, 1980;Daeschler, Spamer & Parris, 1993;Gallagher, 1997). It is likely that the Pleistocene fauna of Monmouth County was somewhat similar to that at Port Kennedy. ...
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