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Holocene Fauna of Big Manhole Cave, Eddy County, New Mexico

Lauri L. Lear and Arthur H. Harris
The Southwestern Naturalist
Vol. 52, No. 1 (Mar., 2007), pp. 110-115
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20424794
Page Count: 6
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Holocene Fauna of Big Manhole Cave, Eddy County, New Mexico
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Abstract

Faunal remains of 40 vertebrate taxa were recovered from 15, 10-cm levels of Holocene deposits in Big Manhole Cave, New Mexico. Radiocarbon dates were determined for the 8 uppermost levels and ranged from 550 to 4,170 radiocarbon years before the present. Rapid deposition was indicated for levels 6, 7, and 8. Most identified taxa occurred in the immediate area at the time of our study, but the yellow-nosed cotton rat (Sigmodon ochrognathus), eastern cottontail (Sylvilagus cf., S. floridanus), and Mexican packrat (Neotoma mexicana) currently occur only at higher elevations in the region. The Mexican packrat was present in only the upper 4 levels, consistent with indications from other sites that it arrived east of the Rio Grande relatively recently. The extralimital taxa suggest greater effective precipitation, but the suggestion is confounded by our ignorance of pre-European ecological conditions in the area. /// Restos faunísticos de 40 diferentes taxa vertebrados fueron recobrados de 15 niveles de 10 cm en depósitos Holocenos en la Caverna Big Manhole, Nuevo México. Se determinaron fechas radiocarbónicas para los 8 niveles más altos y variaron entre 550 a 4170 años radiocarbono antes del presente. Deposito rápido se indicaba en los niveles 6, 7, y 8. La mayoría de los taxa identificados ocurrieron en el área inmediata al momento de nuestro estudio, pero la rata de nariz amarilla (Sigmodon ochrognathus), el conejo de monte (Sylvilagus cf., S. floridanus), y la rata montera (Neotoma mexicana), ahora ocurren solamente en elevaciones más altas de la región. Esta última especie aparece solamente en los 4 niveles más altos, consistente con indicios de otros sitios de que llegó al este del Río Bravo relativamente reciente. Los taxa localizados fuera del límite sugieren una precipitación más efectiva, pero la sugerencia se confunde por nuestra ignorancia de las condiciones ecológicas pre-europeas de la región.

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