The present study was designed to describe the stratigraphy as well as the fossils from the assemblage excavated from the External Deposits of the Gladysvale cave (GVED) since 1993, and to discern the possible use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in linking the excavated fossil material to in situ stratigraphy.
Horizontally bedded strata characterize the morphology of the sediments so far exposed in the GVED. These deposits reach a depth of nearly six metres and extend horizontally for about 20 metres. Electron Spin Resonance (ESR) dating of in situ dental enamel samples from exposed strata indicate that sediment deposition took place in chronological sequence. Nearly 6000 fossil specimens have been recovered from decalcified cave breccias located in the GVED. Taphonomic studies of the assemblage indicate that hyaenas as well as porcupines were the main agents of accumulation of the bones. Palaeoenvironmental reconstructions based on taxonomic representation indicate a community of mammals similar in structure to the present day in the area. The possibility of correlating excavated material to in situ stratigraphy cannot be reasonably established. Diagenetic processes including loss of carbonate cement, bioturbation and taphonomic biases may have altered the loci of deposition of bones hindering a precise link between fossils and strata.
Stratigraphic control of the different sedimentary units exposed and the nature of the deposits, offers the potential of establishing a proper stratigraphic model for the entire Gladysvale cave deposit and the analysis of discrete fossil beds across time.
|Degree Type||Masters degree|