Great Basin Naturalist


The composition of four radiocarbon-dated, late Pleistocene woodrat middens is reported and analyzed. A date of 11,850 ± 550 BP records the first reported macrofossil occurrence in this region of late Pleistocene Pinus monophylla-Juniperus osteosperma woodlands. A 7,800 ± 350 BP date documents the most recent J. osteosperma woodlands in this presently coniferless desert area, while a date of 12,100 ± 400 BP is the oldest record of juniper woodlands among the four middens. Other juniper and creosote bush desert flora radiocarbon dates along with six pollen profiles were obtained. The research suggests that as recently as 7,800 BP this part of the Mohave Desert was subject to a cooler, moister climate than at present, and that the aboriginal food resources of pinyon seeds and juniper berries were probably available to early prehistoric man in this area.