Pleistocene Wood Rat Middens and Climatic Change in Mohave Desert: A Record of Juniper Woodlands

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Science  13 Mar 1964:
Vol. 143, Issue 3611, pp. 1171-1173
DOI: 10.1126/science.143.3611.1171


Leafy twigs and seeds of juniper are abundant in nine ancient Neotoma middens discovered in low, arid, desert ranges devoid of junipers, near Frenchman Flat, Nevada. Existing vegetation is creosote bush and other desert shrubs. Twelve radiocarbon dates suggest that the middens were deposited between 7800 to more than 40,000 years ago. Dominance of Utah juniper and absence of pinyon pine in most deposits indicates a local Pleistocene woodland climate more arid than the usual pinyon-juniper climate.