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Late Pleistocene Reptiles and Small Mammals from the Lower Grand Canyon of Arizona

Thomas R. Van Devender, Arthur M. Phillips, III and Jim I. Mead
The Southwestern Naturalist
Vol. 22, No. 1 (Mar. 1, 1977), pp. 49-66
DOI: 10.2307/3670463
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3670463
Page Count: 18
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Late Pleistocene Reptiles and Small Mammals from the Lower Grand Canyon of Arizona
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Abstract

Twenty-one taxa and 130 identifiable specimens of reptiles and small mammals preserved in late Pleistocene packrat middens from the lower Grand Canyon of Arizona were identified. Samples range in age from 8540 ± 180 to 16,330 ± 270 radiocarbon years. Plant macrofossils of approximately 75 species are associated with the fauna. The plants are a mixture of present desert forms and woodland species (Juniperus sp., Fraxinus anomala, Ribes montigenum) now restricted to higher elevations on the rims of the Grand Canyon. The fauna also represents a mixture of present desert species (Gopherus agassizi, Sauromalus obesus, Coleonyx variegatus) and higher woodland species (Sceloporus undulatus or occidental is Neotoma mexicana, Erethizon dorsatum, Marmota flaviventris). Mixed biotic communities in the Pleistocene may reflect a more moderate climate which had mild winters, cool summers, and slightly increased winter rainfall.

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