Master of Science (MS)
First Committee Member
Stephen M. Rowland
Number of Pages
Gypsum Cave, near Las Vegas, Nevada, was excavated in 1930, yielding a Rancholabrean-to-Holocene mammalian fauna intermixed with many human artifacts. The bone assemblage, which is now housed at the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History, contains burned and fractured bones with conspicuous grooves that have never before been studied. The objectives of this study are to (1) identify and describe the Gypsum Cave fauna, (2) interpret the taphonomy of the fauna to test the hypothesis that Gypsum Cave represents a site of interaction between Pleistocene animals and Paleo-Indians, and (3) use the Gypsum Cave fauna to better characterize the Pleistocene paleoecology of Southern Nevada. The methods include: identifying the species present; determining their abundance in the cave; determining the age of the fauna; determining the spatial distribution of the bones; analyzing the fractures and surficial features of the bones; and examining the micromorphology of the burned bone surfaces. These scanning electron microscope (SEM) analyses indicate that Gypsum Cave does not represent a site of Late Pleistocene human butchery, but rather a Late Pleistocene predator's lair that was later inhabited and overprinted by humans in the Holocene.
Analysis; Cave; Fauna; Faunal; Gypsum; Holocene; Nevada; Rancholabrean; Revisited; Southern; Taphonomic
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
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Glowiak, Elizabeth Marie, "Gypsum Cave revisited: Faunal and taphonomic analysis of a Rancholabrean-to-Holocene fauna in southern Nevada" (2007). UNLV Retrospective Theses & Dissertations. 2167.