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Sierra Diablo Cave

TX: Hudspeth Co.: ca. 1660 m

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Location of Sierra Diablo Cave.Age. Mid/Late Wisconsin/Holocene. Presence of the Aztlán Rabbit and Stock's Vampire Bat strongly suggests that a portion of the fauna dates to before late Wisconsin times, as does the single radiocarbon date of about 35,000 BP. Presumably late Wisconsin material also is represented since there is no indication of the cave entrance having been closed during the time that animal remains were deposited. There is obvious Holocene archaeological material present.

General Description. Small, south-facing cave in the rimrock of the Diablo Plateau, Rio Grande drainage.

Discussion. The cave has been badly disturbed by pot hunters. Some paleontological specimens were recovered in about 1966. More recently (2011), archaeological and paleontological excavations were carried out by researchers from the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). Further excavations were done in June of 2012 supported in part by Vance Holliday of the University of Arizona and Archaeological Research Fund. All fossil material is housed at UTEP. The faunal list includes both Holocene and Pleistocene material.

Taxa deemed likely to occur within the vicinity at present or historically are marked by an asterisk following the listing; those without the asterisk almost certainly are Pleistocene in age. Current presence in the area does not rule out those taxa also having been present in the Pleistocene; Pleistocene presence supported by stratigraphic data are noted by presence of "P" following the asterisk.

Fauna

AMPHIBIA

Ambystoma mavortium—Barred Tiger Salamander*
Anaxyrus sp.—Common Toads*P

CHELONIA

Terrapene sp.—Box Turtles (cf.)*
Gopherus morafkai—Morafka's Desert Tortoise

REPTILIA

Crotaphytus collaris—Eastern Collared Lizard*P
Phrynosoma cornutum—Texas Horned Lizard*
Phrynosoma hernandesi—Mountain Short-horned Lizard
Phrynosoma modestum—Round-tailed Horned Lizard*
Bogertophis subocularis—Trans-Pecos Rat Snake*P
Coluber/Masticophis sp.—Racer/Coachwhip*P
Pituophis catenifer—Gopher Snake*P
Crotalus sp.—Rattlesnakes*P

AVES

Callipepla sp.—Crested Quails*
Cathartes aura—Turkey Vulture*
Coragyps occidentalis—Western Black Vulture
Gymnogyps californianus—California Condor
Aquila/Haliaeetus sp.—Golden or Bald Eagle*
Falco sparverius—American Kestrel*P
Fulica americana—American Coot*
Geococcyx californianus—Greater Roadrunner*
Geococcyx californianus conklingi—Conkling's Roadrunner
Bubo virginianus*—Great Horned Owl (cf.)*
Corvus corax—Common Raven*P
Petrochelidon fulva/pyrrhonota—Cave or Cliff Swallow*

MAMMALIA

Nothrotheriops shastensis—Shasta Ground Sloth
Cynomys sp.—Prairie Dogs*P
Cynomys gunnisoni—Gunnison's Prairie Dog
Cynomys ludovicianus—Black-tailed Prairie Dog*
Ictidomys/Xerospermophilus sp.—Thirteen-lined or Spotted Ground Squirrel*
Marmota flaviventris—Yellow-bellied Marmot
Otospermophilus variegatus—Rock Squirrel*
Tamias canipes—Gray-footed Chipmunk (cf.)
Chaetodipus hispidus—Hispid Pocket Mouse*
Dipodomys ordii—Merriam's or Ord's Kangaroo Rat (cf.)*
Dipodomys spectabilis—Bannertail Kangaroo Rat*
Perognathus flavus/merriami—Silky or Merriam's Pocket Mouse*
Cratogeomys castanops—Yellow-faced Pocket Gopher*P
Geomys sp.—Eastern Pocket Gophers*P
Thomomys bottae—Botta's Pocket Gopher*
Thomomys talpoides—Northern Pocket Gopher
Microtus mogollonensis—Mogollon Vole (cf.)
Microtus pennsylvanicus—Meadow Vole
Neotoma cinerea—Bushy-tailed Woodrat
Neotoma leucodon—White-toothed Woodrat*P
Neotoma micropus—Southern Plains Woodrat (cf.)*
Onychomys arenicola—Mearn's Grasshopper Mouse*
Onychomys leucogaster—Northern Grasshopper Mouse*
Peromyscus nasutus—Rock Mouse*
Reithrodontomys sp.—Harvest Mice*
Sigmodon hispidus—Hispid Cotton Rat*P
Sigmodon ochrognathus—Yellow-nosed Cotton Rat
Erethizon dorsata—American Porcupine*
Aztlanolagus agilis—Aztlán Rabbit
Lepus sp.—Jackrabbits*P
Sylvilagus audubonii—Desert Cottontail*P
Sylvilagus floridanus/robustus—Eastern or Davis Mountains Cottontail*
Sylvilagus nuttallii—Mountain Cottontail (cf.)
Notiosorex dalquesti—Dalquest's Shrew
Desmodus stocki—Stock's Vampire Bat
Antrozous pallidus—Pallid Bat*P
Eptesicus fuscus—Big Brown Bat*
Lynx rufus—Bobcat*P
Panthera atrox—American Lion
Puma concolor—Mountain Lion*P
Canis latrans—Coyote*
Urocyon cinereoargenteus—Gray Fox*
Vulpes macrotis—Kit Fox (cf.)*
Vulpes velox sp.—Swift Fox
Ursus americanus—Black Bear*
Mustela frenata—Long-tailed Weasel*P
Taxidea taxus—American Badger*
Mephitis mephitis—Striped Skunk*
Spilogale gracilis/putorius—Western or Eastern Spotted Skunk*P
Bassariscus astutus—Ringtail*
Equus conversidens—Mexican Horse
Equus francisci—Stilt-legged Onager (?)
Equus scotti—Scott's Horse (cf.)
Hemiauchenia macrocephala—Big-headed Llama
Odocoileus sp.—Deer*
Antilocapra americana—Pronghorn*
Capromeryx furcifer—Matthew's Pronghorns
Stockoceros conklingi—Conkling's Pronghorn
Oreamnos harringtoni—Harrington's Mountain Goat (cf.)
Ovis canadensis—Bighorn Sheep*

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Last update: 24 Sep 2013