Christopher J Bell

The University of Texas at Austin


Smithsonian Institution


Northern Arizona University

Although the fossil herpetofauna of Porcupine Cave is depauperate relative to the avian and mammalian faunas (both taxonomically and in total numbers of specimens and number of individuals represented), even the limited record available yields important information that complements and augments the data derived from studies of the other, more extensive vertebrate groups. The combined sample of amphibians and reptiles from all localities within the cave includes only 141 specimens representing a minimum of seven taxa. The nature of the preserved material in most cases prohibits reliable identification to species or even to genus, but given the high elevation of the site (2900 m), the presence of any amphibian and reptile taxa in the middle Pleistocene is significant. In this chapter we document the presence and taxonomic diversity of amphibians and reptiles recovered from the cave and explore the paleoclimatic information that can be derived from the study of these remains when they occur in controlled stratigraphic contexts.

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