Great Basin Naturalist


Snake Creek Burial Cave (SCBC), east central Nevada, is a unique paleontological deposit. The cave is the first natural trap excavated in the Great Basin and one of the few localities describing a valley-bottom community. The recovery of extinct Camelops sp. (camel) and Equus spp. (horse), in addition to radiometric dates, indicates at least some of the deposits to be of late Pleistocene age. Eight mustelid species have been identified from SCBC, including three species not previously reported from the late Rancholabrean of the Great Basin: Mustela nigripes (black-footed ferret), M. nivalis (least weasel), and Gulo gulo (wolverine). A review of late Pleistocene deposits indicates that there are more species of mustelids recovered from Snake Creek Burial Cave than from any other locality in the Great Basin.