Date of Award

Spring 5-21-1996

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Dr. Dennis C, Parmley

Second Advisor

Dr. William P. Wall

Third Advisor

Dr. Everette H. Barman


The Taunton local fauna is located in Adams county Washington and is Blancan in age (2.85-2.95 ma). This site yielded three hundred sixty-five fossil snake vertebrae. Of these, one hundred ninety-nine were identifiable to genus and twenty-one were identifiable to species. Analysis of the Taunton's ophidian faunal composition provides two notable accounts in attempting to reconstruct Blancan snake faunas. First, is the occurrence of the fox snake, Elaphe vulpina. This is the only account of this species in the Pacific Northwest. This is important since the fox snake's present range is restricted to the upper Midwest United States. Second, this site produced the first appearance in the fossil record of the rubber boa, Charina bottae. Other snakes identified in this study include Thamnophis sp. indet., ColuberMasticophis, and Pituophis melanoleucus. Although this fauna is similar in composition to that of other Blancan faunas, the extension of the fox snake's Pliocene (Blancan) range and the first account of the rubber boa make this fauna a noteworthy assemblage.