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Late Pleistocene Large Mammalian Herbivores: Implications for Early Human Hunting Patterns in Southern California





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The paleogeographic distribution of large herbivorous mammals and their inferred migratory and behavioral patterns may be critical in reconstructing the scheduling and procurement strategies of early human hunters in the south- western United States. During Rancholabrean time there were provincial differ- ences in faunal composition between the southwestern Great Basin and Mojave Desert, intermontane southern California, and coastal southern California. Such provinciality is not unexpected, especially in view of ecological differences between continental and maritime conditions during the late Pleistocene. Although many large mammalian herbivores ranged widely throughout this region, the distribu- tion of rare or provincially endemic taxa (such as Tapirus) and the relative abun- dance of common taxa (e.g., species of Equus, Camelops, Hemiauchenia, and Bison), reflect local paleoecological conditions and habitat patterns. These data suggest that if human hunters were present in the region, their procurement strat- egies should reflect faunal provinciality and would have been adjusted to local mammalian distributions and conditions.