Odocoileus sp.—Odocoileus Deer // Odocoileus hemionus—Mule Deer // Odocoileus virginianus—White-tailed Deer
Two species occur in the region today: Odocoileus hemionus, the Mule Deer, and O. virginianus, the White-tailed Deer. The former occurs throughout the region. The latter is mainly eastern and southern, occurring along the eastern slopes of the eastern mountains in New Mexico and to the east. In northern New Mexico, they were common on the eastern slopes of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, but rare or absent to the west in the Rio Grande drainage (Findley et al. 1975). A small subspecies occurs in southwestern New Mexico.
The two species differ in the form of the antlers and in some skull features, but generally are otherwise indistinguishable osteologically. The small size of the southwestern subspecies of O. virginianus, however, may allow identification.
Findley et al. 1975.
Cranial and post-cranial material that can be identified as Odocoileus generally can be identified to the species level only with reasonably large portions of antlers or with a very well preserved skull. The result is a number of records at the generic level and relatively few (and somewhat suspect) identifications to species. Deer remains appear to be rarer than would be expected if they were as common in the past as they are today.
Colbert (1950) listed "large cervid" from Ventana Cave, but went on to suggest it might represent one of the western species of Odocoileus which would seem to indicate that it was not large enough for Cervus.
Pleistocene: Mina Erupción (Eaton 1923: ?); Perico Creek (Morgan and Lucas 2005: ?).
Late Blancan: Cal Tech (Lindsay 1984); Curtis Ranch (Morgan and White 2005: ?); La Union (Morgan and Lucas 2003); San Simon Fauna (Morgan and White 2005).
Early Irvingtonian: Adobe Ranch (Morgan and Lucas 2005: ?).
Rancholabrean: Bajimari (White et al. 2010); Jal (Morgan and Lucas 2005); La Botana (White et al. 2010); La Playa (White et al. 2010); Térapa (White et al. 2010: cf.).
Early Rancholabrean: Albuquerque Gravel Pits (Morgan and Lucas 2005).
Wisconsin: San Simon Sink (Harris 1993c: cf.).
Early/Early-Mid Wisconsin: Lost Valley/Rm Vanishing Floor (Harris 1993c: ?); Sabertooth Camel Maze (Harris 1993c: cf.).
Mid Wisconsin: U-Bar Cave (Harris 1987).
Mid Wisconsin-Holocene: Shelter Cave (Harris 1993c).
Mid/Late Wisconsin/Holocene: Sierra Diablo Cave (UTEP cf.).
Late Wisconsin: Animal Fair 18-20 ka (Harris 1989); Big Manhole Cave (Harris 1993c); Charlies Parlor (Harris 1989); Dry Gulch (Morgan and Lucas 2005); Dust Cave (Harris and Hearst 2012); Lower Sloth Cave (Logan 1983); Pendejo Cave (Harris 2003); Steeruwitz Hills #1(4) (Van Devender and Bradley 1990: Cf. genus); U-Bar Cave 15-18 ka (Harris 1989); Ventana Cave (Colbert 1950: ?); Vulture Cave (Mead and Phillips 1981).
Late Wisconsin/Holocene: Baldy Peak Cave (Harris 1993c); Deadman Cave (Mead et al. 1984); Pendejo Cave (Harris 2003).
Colbert 1950;Eaton 1923; Harris 1987, 1989, 1993c, 2003; Harris and Hearst 2012; Lindsay 1984; Lindsay and Tessman 1974; Logan 1983; Mead and Phillips 1981; Mead et al. 1984; Morgan and Lucas 2005; Morgan and White 2005; Van Devender and Bradley 1990; White et al. 2010.
Members of the genus Odocoileus are notoriously difficult to identify on post-cranial material or on the absence of specific cranial elements such as antlers or lacrimals.
The Dark Canyon deer (Tebedge 1988) is identified on the basis of a dentary with p3-m3, a lower incisor, and a fragment of a lower molar. He apparently assigned to material to this species since he found no morphological differences from modern Mule Deer material other than slightly larger size of the Dark Canyon material. The Blackwater Draw Fauna specimen was based solely on an upper third premolar (Slaughter 1975).
The Pumphouse Canyon site (Harris 1993c) has been moved from Wisconsin age to Late Wisconsin/Holocene, there being insufficient data to date the site more specifically.
Irvingtonian: El Golfo (Croxen et al. 2007: ?).
Rancholabrean: Keams Canyon (Mead et al. 2005); Tooth Cave (Mead et al. 2005); White Mesa (Morgan and Rinehart 2007).
Sangamon: La Brisca (Van Devender et al. 1985).
Mid Wisconsin Pendejo Cave (Harris 2003: cf.).
Mid/Late Wisconsin Animal Fair (Harris 1993c: cf.); Dark Canyon Cave (Tebedge 1988).
Late Wisconsin Blackwater Draw (Slaughter 1975); Folsom (Morgan and Lucas 2005); Stalag 17 (Harris 1993c: ?).
Late Wisconsin/Holocene: Aden Fumarole (Harris 1993c); Burnet Cave (Schultz and Howard 1935); Stanton's Cave (Olsen and Olsen 1984); Williams Cave (Ayer 1936).
Ayer 1936; Croxen et al. 2007; Harris 1993c, 2003; Mead et al. 2005; Morgan and Lucas 2005; Morgan and Rinehart 2007; Olsen and Olsen 1984; Schultz and Howard 1935; Slaughter 1975; Tebedge 1988; Van Devender et al. 1985.
The problems involved in identification have been noted elsewhere. Harris' (1993c) record from the Blackwater Draw Fauna is withdrawn; I have been unable to locate a source for the record and suspect it was the result of failing to follow a line accurately across a table.
Irvingtonian: El Golfo (Croxen et al. 2007).
Late Wisconsin: U-Bar Cave 14-15 ka (Harris 1989; cf.).
Late Wisconsin/Holocene: Burnet Cave (Schultz and Howard 1935); Williams Cave (Ayer 1936).
Ayer 1936; Croxen et al. 2007; Harris 1989; Schultz and Howard 1935.
Last Update: 22 Nov 2013