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PLEISTOCENE VERTEBRATES OF ARIZONA, NEW MEXICO, AND TRANS-PECOS TEXAS

Arthur H. Harris
UTEP Biodiversity Collections, Department of Biological Sciences,
and Centennial Museum
University of Texas at El Paso,
El Paso, Texas 79968

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Foreword

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This work was originally intended to end up as a printed book (for e-book fans, the material on the website through October 2012 is available in three e-book volumes optimized for the EPUBReader, a free e-book reader add-on for the Firefox; links are at E-Books. As work progressed, however, the advantages of a web format where color images could be added with ease (and without worry about cost), definitions of terms could be accessed with the click of a mouse, links to other resources could provide depth otherwise impractical in terms of space and time, and updates quickly incorporated made it evident that internet publishing, though lacking the academic status of printed works, would best serve the audience—thus the present format. The ease of making changes is both an advantage and a disadvantage: the advantage lies in the ease of correcting errors and adding pertinent new data; the disadvantage is the instability of the text. It is hoped that the reader will check for updates frequently and, if making reference to the material, will include the date of accession.

This work started out in 2008 as intending to document the Pleistocene vertebrate fauna of New Mexico and Trans-Pecos Texas, the region I am most familiar with. In the Fall of 2012, the original aims mostly met, the decision was made to add Arizona. This in part was because a considerable portion of Arizona lies at lower elevations than found in New Mexico, allowing a new dimension to the elucidation of Pleistocene changes. Another consideration, however, was that the Southwestern biogeographic picture was conspicuously incomplete without knowing what occurred to the west of New Mexico.

Although summaries of New Mexican Pleistocene taxa and sites have appeared (Harris 1993c; Morgan and Lucas 2003, 2005) and various papers concerned with individual taxa, sites, or regions of New Mexico and Trans-Pecos Texas have been published, there has been no work bringing the Pleistocene record of the entire region together in one place.

Morgan and Lucas (2003, 2005) have done a magnificent job on open sites (i.e., non-cave sites) for New Mexico, and many details of individual sites and some of the taxa treated by them have received minimal treatment here. Much of the information that is included here is from their reviews. For the serious student, I strongly recommend that their publications be consulted.

For Arizona, the first major summary (Lindsay and Tessman) dates back to 1974. A wide variety of other papers has appeared since the summary of Lindsay and Tessman, including consolidation of amphibian and reptile data Mead (2005) for the latter portion of the Pleistocene (the Rancholabrean)and for mammoths (Agenbroad and Mead 1989). Lucas and Morgan (2005) gave an overview for mammals, but not a comprehensive treatment of sites and taxa. However, a comprehensive work came out the same year when Mead et al. 2005 brought together both sites and taxa for Arizonan mammals. Also in 2005, Morgan and White 2005 brought together vertebrate records for the late Blancan of Arizona. I have relied heavily on the 2005 papers for data up to the time of publication.

Hopefully, the present effort will bring together all Pleistocene vertebrate records for the region for the first time, and one of the reasons behind presenting this work on the web is to allow easy updating as new, missed, or corrected data become available.

It is the aim of this work to provide information useful to both the interested lay person and scientists. I am well aware that such efforts often end up serving neither audiences well, but if the person with a general interest can manage to overlook some of the more esoteric material and the lists of fauna and sites, and the scientist some of what might seem elementary, perhaps both may find it not too bitter a pill.

Several conventions have been adopted in an attempt to make the site friendly. Terms that may be unfamiliar to the general reader are internal links in green, such as this example for the glossary. Other internal links, such as for citations, sites, taxa, or other divisions of the site, are in gray, as for the citations in paragraph four. Off-site links are as in the browser default (usually blue for unvisited and red for visited).

Access to an account of a Pleistocene fossil taxon is by following a link in the menu at the top of the page to a major group of interest, such as reptiles or birds. Each link will take you to an index page for that group, arranged in taxonomic order. Links on the index page then will take you to accounts at lower taxonomic levels, arranged alphabetically. Similarly, links under "Sites" will take you to site accounts.

I have been somewhat cavalier about literature citations. Citations in the accounts often are to the summary papers mentioned above rather than to the original publication; these summaries often contain multiple citations opening the literature more efficiently than would a citation to the original or the most recent publication.

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Last Update: 16 Dec 2012

© 2008-2012 aharris@utep.edu, UTEP Biodiversity Collections, Department of Biological Sciences, and Centennial Museum, University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, TX 79968.