Likely, these records refer to Tapirus merriami, but further data are required.
Pleistocene: Cornudas Mountains (Harris 1993c).
Late Blancan: 111 Ranch (Morgan and White 2005); San Simon Fauna (Morgan and White 2005).
Irvingtonian: El Paso (Richardson 1909).
Fig. 1. Lower jaw of Tapirus sp. (probably T. merriami from El Paso (Richardson 1909).
Literature. Harris 1993c; Morgan and White 2005; Richardson 1909.
The Cornudas Mts. specimen is labeled "Cave in Cornudas Mts." The Cornudas are igneous and not known to have caves, so the locality data are suspect. The collector is unknown. The other cave remains consist of an upper second incisor (Dark Canyon Cave) and a third metapodial (Lost Valley). Conkling (1932) mentioned tapir from El Paso, but this likely referred to Richardson's (1909) specimen.
Fig. 1. South American Tapir Tapirus terrestris. Photograph from Wikimedia Commons (by "LadyofHats": released to public domain).
Ray and Sanders (1984) very tentatively recognized two North American Pleistocene tapirs, the larger Tapirus haysii and the smaller T. veroensis. This conclusion was based largely on the recognition that only T. veroensis was reasonably characterized by diagnostic skull material. The larger tapirs are known primarily from early to middle Pleistocene, though possibly to latest Pleistocene, whereas the smaller tapirs are from the late Pleistocene, but probably also occurred earlier.
Fig. 2. Anterior and side views of the third metatarsal of Tapirus from Lost Valley, Dry Cave, Eddy Co., NM. UTEP 1-827.
Jefferson (1989), however, made the case for the western tapirs to be assignable to two species, one larger and one smaller. The larger, which includes fossils from the region covered here, was assigned to Tapirus merriami, with the smaller form south and west of this region assigned tentatively to T. californicus. Jefferson (1989: 19-20) summarizes as follows: "A large species, here referred to Frick's Tapirus merriami, typically occurs in upper Pliocene (upper Blancan) and lower to middle Pleistocene (Irvingtonian) deposits along the Pacific coast. It is poorly known from upper Pleistocene (Rancholabrean) deposits in California, but is found in the Rancholabrean of Arizona." The Rancholabrean specimens from Arizona and New Mexico are assigned here to T. merriami, as is the record from La Union identified as T. haysii. Other Blancan and Irvingtonian specimens are listed as Tapirus sp. pending further data.
Late Blancan: La Union (Morgan and Lucas 2003).
Early/Early-Mid Wisconsin: Lost Valley (Harris 1993c).
Mid Wisconsin: Shonto (Agenbroad and Downs 1984).
Mid/Late Wisconsin: Dark Canyon Cave (Tebedge 1988).
Late Wisconsin: Lehner Ranch (Lindsay 1978); Murray Springs (Lindsay 1978); Ventana Cave (Colbert 1950).
Literature. Agenbroad and Downs 1984; Colbert 1950; Conkling 1932; Harris 1993c; Jefferson 1989; Lindsay 1978; Morgan and Lucas 2003; Ray and Sanders 1984; Richardson 1909; Tebedge 1988.
Last Update: 1 Mar 2013