Conclusions

The location and geological conditions at Porcupine Cave have combined to provide a unique, rich fossil record of early and middle Pleistocene faunas that have been preserved and sampled largely thanks to the ecological habits of the bushy-tailed wood rat. The efforts of a great many dedicated people

Species Caught at or near Den Seen at or near Den Remains in Den

Ammospermophilus leucurus • —

Spermophilus lateralis • —

Tamiasciurus hudsonicus — —

Centrocercus urophasianus — —

Species

Caught at or near Den Seen at or near Den Remains in Den

Notiosorex crawfordi Antrozous pallidus Homo sapiens Sylvilagus sp. Lepus sp. Tamias minimus T. quadrivittatus Ammospermophilus leucurus Spermophilus variegatus Cynomys gunnisoni C. cf. leucurus C. ludovicianus Thomomys cf. bottae Pappogeomys castanops Perognathus flavus P. hispidus Dipodomys ordii Castor canadensis Onychomys leucogaster Peromyscus boylii P. difficilis P. leucopus P. maniculatus P. truei

Reithrodontomys sp. Neotoma albigula Ondatra zibethicus Rattus norvegicus Erethizon dorsatum Canis latrans Spilogale gracilis Mephitis mephitis Lynx rufus Odocoileus hemionus Bubo virginianus Asio flammeus Sceloporus graciosus S. undulatus Uta stansburiana Cnemidophorus tigris Crotalus viridis Unidentified snake Unidentified fish note: •, present.

Species

Caught at or near Den Seen at or near Den Remains in Den

Sylvilagus sp. Tamias quadrivittatus Spermophilus tridecemlineatus S. variegatus Cynomys sp. Thomomys cf. bottae Dipodomys ordii Castor canadensis Peromyscus boylii P. crinitus P. leucopus P. maniculatus P. truei

Neotoma mexicana Ondatra zibethica Erethizon dorsatum Spilogale gracilis Odocoileus hemionus Ovis aries Bos taurus Buteo sp.

Phasianus colchicus Cnemidophorus tigris Crotaphytus collaris Phrynosoma cf. cornutum Sceloporus undulatus Uta stansburiana Elaphe guttata Masticophis flagellum Unidentified lizard Unidentified snake Scaphiopus multiplicatus note: •, present.

table 8.4

Vertebrate Associates of Neotoma floridana in Colorado

Species

Caught at or near Den Seen at or near Den Remains in Den

Sylvilagus sp. Geomys bursarius Dipodomys ordii Peromyscus maniculatus Unidentified carnivore Bos taurus Equus caballos Melagrus gallopavo Sceloporus undulatus Cnemidophorus sexlineatus Masticophis flagellum Crotalus viridis have made possible the recovery and study of the wealth of information contained in the cave deposits. Correct interpretation of the data has depended on understanding the complex biology and history of these deposits, as well as the geology of the cave itself. This review of the major role of wood rats in cave taphonomy puts into perspective the favorable factors, as well as the limitations of interpretation, inherent in the biology of wood rats. The most important among the favorable factors are the collecting and cave-dwelling behaviors of Neotoma. Major limitations are the ecological diversity of wood rat populations, the wide range of environmental conditions in the vicinity of the cave, and the many known changes of climatic conditions in the Pleistocene.

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