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San Antonio Cave (SAM Cave)

NM: Rio Arriba Co.: 2737 m.

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Location of San Antonio Cave.Age. All but the Kathy Pit locality are medial Irvingtonian (Morgan and Lucas 2003). Rogers et al. (2000): Tight Spot, Pink Solid, Bot 4, and Under Arch localities are indicated as between ca. 1.3 mya and 0.85 mya by presence of the voles Mictomys kansasensis and Allophaiomys. On the basis of a species of Microtus (present in all but the Under Arch loc.), sites are unlikely to be older than the beginning of the Jaramillo event (1.0 mya). Relative age from old to young is Under Arch, Bot 4, Pink Solid, and Tight Spot. The LB outcrop is stratified with LB3 indicated as 0.82-0.84 or 0.80-0.78 mya. LB6 is 0.78-0.74 mya. Thus LB7 to LB9 should be younger than 0.74 mya. The Kathy Pit locality is considered to be late Pleistocene or Holocene since it contains only modern fauna, though with a composition indicating that water was closer than today.

General Description. Rogers et al. (2000): The site is a lava tube cave in Servilleta Basalt (dated at between 3.4 and 3.9 mya) located about 6.2 mi northwest of San Antonio Mountain in extreme northern New Mexico. Fifteen fossil localities have been identified within it. The Brunhes-Matuyama paleomagnetic reversal at about 0.78 mya is recorded. The fauna indicates warmer, more equable climates than today. Deep sea Oxygen Isotope Stages 22-18 glaciations were represented in the region by forests. The oldest record of the Northern Red-backed Vole (Clethrionomys rutilus = Myodes rutilus) in North America is recorded.

The cave is known as Cisneros Mine in official papers (fossiliferous sediments were collected under a mining permit for more than 30 years).

Discussion. Rogers et al. (2000) interpreted the four oldest deposits as indicating "warm, mild, preglacial climate in the region...." (p.98) with varying moisture. The LB outcrop faunas were said to indicate climatic conditions associated with the growth and retreat of glacial conditions. At times, forested conditions with running streams, swamps, and marshes were present. The relatively young Kathy's Pit fauna indicated a mild climate with a growing season longer than that of today and temperatures more moderate than those current. Lack of forest animals and presence of grassland creatures suggested summer precipitation was insufficient to support forest.

Medial Irvingtonian Fauna.

Osteichthyes

Trout (Rogers et al. 2000)

Amphibia

Ambystoma mavortium—Barred Tiger Salamander (Rogers et al. 2000)
Pseudacris triseriata—Western Chorus Frog (Rogers et al. 2000)

Reptilia

Phrynosoma hernandesi—Mountain Short-horned Lizard (Rogers et al. 2000)
Crotalus viridis—Prairie Rattlesnake (Rogers et al. 2000)
Thamnophis elegans—Western Terrestrial Garter Snake (Rogers et al. 2000)

Aves

Tachybaptus dominicus—Least Grebe (Rogers et al. 2000: cf.)
Asio flammeus—Flammulated Owl (Rogers et al. 2000: cf.)
Parus sp.—Chickadees and Titmice (now broken into several genera) (Rogers et al. 2000)
Ammodramus sp.—Ammodramus Sparrows (Rogers et al. 2000)
Junco sp.—Juncos (Rogers et al. 2000)
Passerculus sandwichensis—Savannah Sparrow (Rogers et al. 2000: cf.)
Vireo sp.—Vireos (Rogers et al. 2000)

Mammalia

Ammospermophilus leucurus—White-tailed Antelope Squirrel (Rogers et al. 2000: cf.)
Callospermophilus lateralis—Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel (Rogers et al. 2000)
Cynomys ludovicianus—Black-tailed Prairie Dog (Rogers et al. 2000)
Ictidomys tridecemlineatus—Thirteen-lined Ground Squirrel (Rogers et al. 2000)
Otospermophilus variegatus—Rock Squirrel (Rogers et al. 2000)
Sciurus aberti—Abert's Squirrel (Rogers et al. 2000)
Thomomys sp.—Thomomys Pocket Gopher (Rogers et al. 2000)
Allophaiomys sp.—Allophaiomys Voles (Rogers et al. 2000)
Lemmiscus curtatus—Sagebrush Vole (primitive type) (Rogers et al. 2000)
Lemmiscus curtatus—Sagebrush Vole (modern type) (Rogers et al. 2000)
Microtus californicus—California Vole (Rogers et al. 2000: cf.)
Mictomys kansasensis—Kansan Mictomys (Rogers et al. 2000)
Myodes rutilus—Boreal Red-backed Vole (Rogers et al. 2000)
Phenacomys intermedius—Western Heather Vole (Rogers et al. 2000: cf.)
Neotoma cinerea—Bushy-tailed Woodrat (Rogers et al. 2000)
Peromyscus crinitus—Cliff Mouse (Rogers et al. 2000: cf.)
Reithrodontomys megalotis—Western Harvest Mouse (Rogers et al. 2000)
Erethizon sp.—Porcupine (Rogers et al. 2000)
Lepus californicus—Black-tailed Jackrabbit (Rogers et al. 2000)
Sylvilagus sp.—Cottontail (Rogers et al. 2000)
Sorex sp.—Long-tailed Shrew (Rogers et al. 2000)
Chiroptera—Bat (Rogers et al. 2000)
Canis rufus—Red Wolf (Rogers et al. 2000)
Vulpes vulpes—Red Fox (Rogers et al. 2000)
Mustela erminea—Ermine (Rogers et al. 2000)
Taxidea taxus—American Badger (Rogers et al. 2000)
Spilogale gracilis/putorius—Spotted Skunk (Rogers et al. 2000)

Late Wisconsin/Holocene Fauna.

Osteichthyes

Minnow or sculpin (Rogers et al. 2000)

Amphibia

Ambystoma mavortium—Barred Tiger Salamander (Rogers et al. 2000)
Pseudacris triseriata—Western Chorus Frog (Rogers et al. 2000)

Reptilia

Phrynosoma hernandesi—Mountain Short-horned Lizard (Rogers et al. 2000)
Thamnophis elegans—Mountain Garter Snake (Rogers et al. 2000)

Aves

Corvidae gen. indet.—Ravens and Jays (Rogers et al. 2000)
Parus sp.—Chickadees and Titmice (since publication, this genus has been broken into several genera) (Rogers et al. 2000)
Troglodytes troglodytes—House Wren (Rogers et al. 2000: cf.)

Mammalia

Cynomys ludovicianus—Black-tailed Prairie Dog (Rogers et al. 2000)
Ictidomys tridecemlineatus—Thirteen-lined Ground Squirrel (Rogers et al. 2000)
Tamias minimus—Least Chipmunk (Rogers et al. 2000)
Thomomys sp.—Thomomys Pocket Gopher (Rogers et al. 2000)
Microtus californicus—California Vole (Rogers et al. 2000: cf.)
Phenacomys intermedius—Western Heather Vole (Rogers et al. 2000: cf.)
Neotoma cinerea—Bushy-tailed Woodrat (Rogers et al. 2000)
Peromyscus sp.—White-footed Mouse (Rogers et al. 2000)
Reithrodontomys megalotis—Western Harvest Mouse (Rogers et al. 2000)
Erethizon sp.—Porcupine (Rogers et al. 2000)
Lepus californicus—Black-tailed Jackrabbit (Rogers et al. 2000)
Sylvilagus sp.—Cottontail (Rogers et al. 2000)
Sorex sp.—Long-tailed Shrew (Rogers et al. 2000)
Chiroptera—Bat (Rogers et al. 2000)
Canis latrans—Coyote (Rogers et al. 2000: cf.)
Lontra canadensis—North American River Otter (Rogers et al. 2000)
Mephitis mephitis—Striped Skunk (Rogers et al. 2000)

Literature. Morgan and Lucas 2003; Rogers et al. 2000.

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Last Update: 3 May 2009