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Room of the Vanishing Floor, Dry Cave: UTEP Locs. 26, 27

NM: Eddy Co.


Location of the Rick's Cenote site.Age. A 14C date of 33,590 ± 1500 (TX-1773) was obtained on bone carbonates. This likely is a minimum date and it's estimated that the fauna may be either Early Wisconsin or Early/Mid Wisconsin.

General Description. A large chamber deep within Dry Cave. The name comes from a large, soft cone of bat guano that failed to support the weight of a person. The fossil material comes from fill spilling from a chimney on the north side of the chamber (UTEP 26). Material retrieved from the same chimney, but on the side opposite to the large chamber was originally designated as "Above Room of the Vanishing Floor" (UTEP 27); however, the time differential seems minimal and the two areas are treated here as one site.

Discussion. Although treated as one site now, some earlier publications distinguished between them. The numbering system in the database has been maintained so that the different portions of the site can be distinguished.

This is the type locality of Aztlanolagus agilis Russell and Harris 1986.

Harris (1993c) reported the possible occurrence of Brea strix; with additional material, this has turned out to be Bubo virginianus, and the former taxon is removed from the site list. Likewise, the identification of Corvus corax and the very tentative identification (Harris 1993c) of Vulpes velox is withdrawn. Re-examination of the single, tentatively identified S. audubonii specimen suggests that S. audubonii is not represented; furthermore, the cottontails earlier identified as S. nuttallii seem more likely to represent S. floridanus.



Osteichthyes—Bony Fish (UTEP)


Gopherus morafkai—Morafka's Tortoise (Van Devender et al. 1976)


Crotaphytus collaris—Eastern Collared Lizard (Harris 1993c)
Phrynosoma hernandesi—Mountain Short-horned Lizard (Harris 1993c)
Sceloporus sp. (small)—Small Spiny Lizard (Harris 1993c)
Crotalus sp.—Rattlesnake (Harris 1993c)


Anas americana—American Wigeon (Harris 1993c: ?)
Cyrtonyx montezumae—Montezuma Quail (Harris 1993c: cf. gen. et sp.)
Coragyps occidentalis—Western Vulture (Harris 1993c)
Accipiter striatus—Sharp-shinned Hawk (Harris 1993c: cf.)
Aquila chrysaetos—Golden Eagle (Harris 1993c: ?)
Buteo sp.—Buteo Hawk (Harris 1993c: cf)
Falco peregrinus—Peregrine Falcon (Harris 1993c: ?)
Fulica americana—American Coot (Harris 1993c)
Zenaida macroura —Mourning Dove (Harris 1993c)
Geococcyx californianus californianus—Greater Roadrunner (Harris 1993c)
Bubo virginianus—Great Horned Owl (Harris 1993c)
Megascops kennicottii—Western Screech-owl (Harris 1993c: cf. gen. et sp.)
Colaptes auratus—Northern Flicker (Harris 1993c: cf.)
Aphelocoma californica—Western Scrub-jay (Harris 1993c)
†Corvus neomexicanus—New Mexican Raven (Magish and Harris 1976)
Cyanocitta sp.—Blue Jays (Harris 1993c)
Mimus polyglottos—Mockingbird (Harris 1993c: cf. gen. et sp.)
Turdus migratorius—American Robin (Harris 1993c: cf. gen. et sp.)
Aimophila sp.—Aimophila Sparrows (Harris 1993c: cf.)


Nothrotheriops shastensis—Shasta Ground Sloth (Harris 1993c)
Cynomys sp.—Prairie Dog (Harris 1993c)
Ictidomys/Xerospermophilus—Ictidomys/Xerospermophilus Ground Squirrel (Harris 1993c)
Otospermophilus variegatus—Rock Squirrel (Harris 1993c)
Dipodomys sp. (small)—Small Kangaroo Rat (Harris 1993c)
Chaetodipus sp.—Spiny Pocket Mouse (Harris 1993c)
Perognathus sp.—Silky Pocket Mouse (Harris 1993c)
Cratogeomys castanops—Yellow-faced Pocket Gopher (Harris 1993c)
Thomomys bottae—Botta's Pocket Gopher (Harris 1993c)
Neotoma findleyi—Findley's Woodrat (Harris 1984d)
Neotoma leucodon—White-toothed Woodrat (Harris 1993c)
Neotoma pygmaea—Pygmy Woodrat (Harris 1984d)
Peromyscus crinitus—Canyon Mouse (UTEP: cf.)
Reithrodontomys sp.—Harvest Mouse (Harris 1993c)
Erethizon dorsata—American Porcupine (Harris 1993c: ? gen. et sp.)
Aztlanolagus agilis—Aztlán Rabbit (Russell and Harris 1986)
Lepus californicus—Black-tailed Jackrabbit (Harris 1993c)
Sylvilagus audubonii—Desert Cottontail (UTEP)
Sylvilagus floridanus—Eastern Cottontail (UTEP)
Corynorhinus sp.—Big-eared Bat (Harris 1993c)
Myotis velifer—Cave Myotis (Harris 1993c)
Myotis thysanodes—Fringe-tailed Myotis (Harris 1993c: ?)
Panthera onca—Jaguar (Harris 1993c)
Puma concolor—Mountain Lion (Harris 1993c: cf.)
Lynx rufus—Bobcat (Harris 1993c)
Canis latrans— (Harris 1993c: cf.)
Canis lupus—Gray Wolf (Harris 1993c)
Urocyon cinereoargenteus—Gray Fox (Harris 1993c)
Ursus—Bear (Harris 1993c: cf.)
Taxidea taxus—American Badger (Harris 1993c: cf.)
Platygonus sp.—Flat-headed Peccary (Harris 1993c: cf.)
Camelops sp.—American Camel (Harris 1993c)
Odocoileus sp.—Deer (Harris 1993c: ?)
Capromeryx sp.—Miniature Pronghorn (Harris 1993c)


Breagyps strix—Tar-pit Owl (Harris 1993c: cf. gen. et sp.)
Corvus corax—Common Raven (Harris 1993c)
Sylvilagus audubonii—Desert Cottontail (Harris 1993c)
†Panthera atrox—American Lion (UTEP)
Vulpes velox—Swift Fox Harris 1993c: cf. gen. et sp.)
Equus occidentalis—Western Horse (Harris and Porter 1980)

Basis of record has been reidentified.

Emendations: 24 Dec 2010: "Sylvilagus nuttallii—Mountain Cottontail (Harris 1993c)" removed and replaced by Sylvilagus floridanus.

Literature. Harris 1993c; Harris and Crews 1983; Harris and Porter 1980; Magish and Harris 1976; Russell and Harris 1986; Van Devender et al. 1976.


Last Update: 30 Jul 2013