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Garrison EG, Cherkinsky A, Morgan GS, Speller C.2018. Recent dating of extinct Atlantic gray whale fossils, (Eschrichtius robustus), Georgia Bight and Florida, western Atlantic Ocean. PeerJ Preprints6:e27025v2https://doi.org/10.7287/peerj.preprints.27025v2
The Atlantic gray whale (Eschrichtius robustus) presents an interesting case study of climate related dispersal and local extinction. While (limited) fossil records confirm its presence in the Atlantic until the 18th century, its abundance and distribution with the Eastern and Western basins are still not well understood. The discovery of presumed gray whale fossil remains from the Georgia Bight and Atlantic coast of Florida from the mid-1980s to late-2000s, provide a new opportunity to recover additional data regarding their chronology within the Western basin. Here, we apply AMS (accelerator mass spectroscopy) radiocarbon dating technique to eight fossil whale finds, identifying dates within Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 3 (59-24 ka) and the late Holocene, ~ 2000 cal yr BP. We additionally confirm the taxonomic identification of two fossil bone samples as E. robustus using collagen peptide mass fingerprinting (Zoo MS). The obtained dates, when combined with a larger corpus of previously published Atlantic gray whale fossil dates, support the hypothesis for a decline of the Atlantic gray whale in the late Pleistocene and the late Holocene. These new data augment other recent findings from the Eastern Atlantic basin and better incorporate the Western Atlantic basin into a pan-ocean understanding for the species.
The Figure 1 title should be 'The Georgia Bight and Florida Peninsula' instead of 'The Georgia Bight abd Florida Pneisula'.