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Pratt Cave

TX: Culberson Co.: 1590 m.


Location of Pratt Cave.Age. Pleistocene/Holocene.

General Description. The cave is located in the southwest wall at the mouth of McKittrick Canyon. It is within the Guadalupe Mountains National Park. It lies about 90 m above the current canyon floor (Lundelius 1979).

Discussion. This generally is considered to be a Holocene site, more recent than 6000 BP (Gehlbach and Holman 1974). Lundelius (1979) cites four radiocarbon dates, all less than 3000 BP. There are no extinct species represented. However, the site is included here because of a strong probability that it also includes late Wisconsin material.

Several taxa suggest that some Pleistocene material is mixed in with the Holocene (a common occurrence in the Guadalupe Mountains area). Gehlbach and Holman (1974) include the comment that Hargrave (unpublished) identified Geococcyx conklingi, which apparently is mostly a late Wisconsin taxon, though it seems to have hung on through the early Holocene (Harris and Crews 1983). Lundelius (1979) records Marmota flaviventris, speculating that it may have hung on into the Holocene in the relatively mesic McKittrick Canyon. Lundelius also reports several specimens of Neotoma cinerea, noting that it, like the marmot, is unexpected in such a young fauna. Finally, Lundelius reported two specimens of Equus, but concluded that "they apparently represent modern feral or domesticated horses" (1979:246).

Stangl and Dalquest (1991) reported that one of eight first upper molars of Sigmodon from Pratt Cave pertains to S. ochrognathus; Pratt Cave appears to contain both late Wisconsin and Holocene material (mostly Holocene).


Geococcyx californianus conklingi—Conkling's Roadrunner (Gehlbach 1974)
Marmota flaviventris—Yellow-bellied Marmot (Lundelius 1979)
Neotoma cinerea—Bushy-tailed Woodrat (Lundelius 1979)
Sigmodon ochrognathus—Yellow-nosed Cotton Rat (Stangl and Dalquest 1991)
Equus sp.—Horse (Lundelius 1979)

Literature. Gehlbach and Holman 1974; Harris and Crews 1983; Stangl and Dalquest 1991; Lundelius 1979.


Last Update: 28 Jan 2013