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Dust Cave (C-09)

TX: Culberson Co.


Location of Dust Cave.Age. Late Wisconsin. The single date available is 13,000 ± 730 radiocarbon years BP.

Description. One of three caves (the Upper Sloth Caves, C-05, C-08, and C-09) located at the base of cliffs of Permian limestone (Van Devender et al. 1977) in Guadalupe Mountains National Park.

Discussion. Van Devender et al. (1977) reported a rich sample of plant macrofossils from a depth of 0-7.5 cm. The fossils represent a subalpine forest community with spruce (Picea), Limber Pine (presumably Southwestern Limber Pine, now generally recognized as Pinus strobiformis), and Dwarf Juniper (Junipers communis). Spruce needles from the layer date to 13,000 ± 730 BP (A-1539).

Santucci et al. (2001) listed Bighorn Sheep and Black Vulture, along with sloth dung as having been documented from the cave. It's not clear whether a distinction between Coragyps atratus and C. occidentalis was made in the source.

The faunal material was excavated by Lloyd Logan. The material was deposited temporarily at UTEP for identification, but has now been returned to the custody of the National Park Service.



Phrynosoma hernandesi—Mountain Short-horned Lizard (This work: cf.)
Sceloporus cowlesi—Southern Plateau Lizard (This work: cf.)
Lampropeltis sp.—Kingsnake (This work: cf.)
Coluber/Masticophis sp.—Racer or Coachwhip (This work)
Rhinocheilus lecontei—Long-nosed Snake (This work)
Crotalus sp.—Rattlesnake (This work)
Thamnophis sp.—Garter Snake (This work: cf.)


Coragyps atratus—Black Vulture (Santucci et al. 2001)


Cynomys sp.—Prairie Dog (Harris and Hearst 2012)
Ictidomys tridecemlineatus—Thirteen-lined Ground Squirrel (Harris and Hearst 2012)
Marmota flaviventris—Yellow-bellied Marmot (Harris and Hearst 2012)
Otospermophilus variegatus—Rock Squirrel (Harris and Hearst 2012)
Tamias canipes/quadrivittatus—Gray-footed or Colorado Chipmunk (Harris and Hearst 2012)
Tamias minimus—Least Chipmunk (Harris and Hearst 2012)
Tamiasciurus hudsonicus—Red Squirrel (Harris and Hearst 2012)
Xerospermophilus spilosoma—Spotted Ground Squirrel (Harris and Hearst 2012)
Dipodomys spectabilis—Banner-tailed Kangaroo Rat (Harris and Hearst 2012)
Cratogeomys or Geomys sp.—Yellow-faced or Plains Pocket Gopher (Harris and Hearst 2012)
Thomomys bottae—Botta's Pocket Gopher (Harris and Hearst 2012)
Thomomys talpoides—Northern Pocket Gopher (Harris and Hearst 2012: cf.)
Microtus mogollonensis—Mogollon Vole (Harris and Hearst 2012: cf.)
Neotoma cinerea—Bushy-tailed Woodrat (Harris and Hearst 2012)
Neotoma leucodon—White-toothed Woodrat (Harris and Hearst 2012)
Neotoma mexicana—Mexican Woodrat (Harris and Hearst 2012: cf.)
Peromyscus sp.—White-footed Mouse (Harris and Hearst 2012)
Reithrodontomys sp.—Harvest Mouse (Harris and Hearst 2012)
Sigmodon ochrognathus—Yellow-nosed Cotton Rat (Harris and Hearst 2011)
Aztlanolagus agilis—Aztlán Rabbit (Harris and Hearst 2012)
Lepus sp.—Jackrabbit (Harris and Hearst 2012)
Sylvilagus nuttallii—Mountain Cottontail (Harris and Hearst 2012)
Notiosorex sp.—Notiosorex Shrew (Harris and Hearst 2012)
Sorex merriami—Merriam's Shrew (Harris and Hearst 2012)
Sorex nanus—Dwarf Shrew (Harris and Hearst 2012)
Sorex neomexicanus—New Mexican Shrew (Harris and Hearst 2012)
Antrozous pallidus—Pallid Bat (Harris and Hearst 2012)
Corynorhinus townsendii—Townsend's Big-eared Bat (Harris and Hearst 2012)
Eptesicus fuscus—Big Brown Bat (Harris and Hearst 2012)
Myotis californicus or ciliolabrum—California or Western Small-footed Myotis (Harris and Hearst 2012)
Lynx rufus—Bobcat (Harris and Hearst 2012)
Puma concolor—Mountain Lion (Harris and Hearst 2012)
Mephitis mephitis—Striped Skunk (Harris and Hearst 2012)
Odocoileus sp.—Deer (Harris and Hearst 2012)
Capromeryx sp.—Diminutive Pronghorn (Harris and Hearst 2012: cf.)
Ovis canadensis—Bighorn Sheep (Harris and Hearst 2012)

Literature. Harris and Hearst 2011; Harris and Hearst 2012; Santucci et al. 2001; Van Devender et al. 1977.


Last Update: 6 July 2012