A Mid-Holocene Fauna from Bear Den Cave, Sequoia National Park, California
Mead, Jim I.
McGinnis, Thomas W.
Keeley, Jon E.
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Test excavation of floor fill deposits in the first room in Bear Den Cave, Sequoia National Park, produced fossiliferous sediments down to at least 40 cm depth. Radiocarbon analysis of charcoal from this layer indicates an earlymiddle Holocene age of 7220 CAL BP. The fossil accumulation represents prey recovered from generations of ringtail (Bassariscus astutus) dung. Microvertebrate remains include salamanders, lizards, snakes, and mammals. The recovery of Aneides ferreus/vagrans from early-middle Holocene deposits in Bear Den Cave is a first for this species group. Equally interesting is the recovery of Plethodon sp. Neither taxa live in the Sierra Nevada today. The fossil-rich deposits of Bear Den Cave indicate that future paleoecological studies will be productive in Sequoia National Park.