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Biodiversity Response to Climate Change in the Middle PleistoceneThe Porcupine Cave Fauna from Colorado$

Anthony Barnosky

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780520240827

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520240827.001.0001

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Paleopathology and Taphonomic Modification of Mammalian Bones from Porcupine Cave

Paleopathology and Taphonomic Modification of Mammalian Bones from Porcupine Cave

(p.82) Nine Paleopathology and Taphonomic Modification of Mammalian Bones from Porcupine Cave
Biodiversity Response to Climate Change in the Middle Pleistocene

C. Suzane Ware

Elaine Anderson

University of California Press

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses the paleopathology and taphonomic modifications evident in several specimens recovered from the Porcupine Cave deposits. It also provides background information about bone accumulation in a cave setting. More than a hundred specimens from Porcupine Cave show signs of disease and trauma, and many more have been gnawed by rodents. In this chapter, the following categories of bone modification are discussed: carnivore digestion; raptor digestion; disease, injury, or trauma; and rodent gnawing.

Keywords:   paleopathology, taphonomic modifications, bone accumulation, bone modification, carnivore digestion, raptor digestion, disease, injury, trauma, rodent gnawing

Disease is as old as life, for disease is a part of life, life in changing conditions.


The story of Porcupine Cave would be incomplete without an understanding of health, disease, trauma, and the calamities that befell the animals whose remains were fossilized, as well as the conditions that led to the accumulation of the many bones in the cave.

Paleopathology was first defined in Funk and Wagnall’s Standard Dictionary in 1895 and was first referred to by physician R. W. Shufeldt in 1892 (Jarcho, 1966; Ubelaker, 1982). All of the early works defined paleopathology as the study of ancient disease. Yet it was not until widespread interest in ancient Egypt took hold, and the British anatomists Grafton Elliot Smith and Warren Dawson published their work on human mummies in 1924, that the word entered mainstream jargon. Sir Marc Armand Ruffer brought paleopathology into the general scientific realm through his work on human Egyptian mummies in 1891. He defined paleopathology as the study of disease in ancient human populations (Ruffer, 1921). After Ruffer’s untimely death in 1917, Roy L. Moodie compiled and published Ruffer’s manuscripts, which showed that fossilized vertebrates exhibited signs of disease and trauma. Moodie (1924:21) expanded the definition of paleopathology to include the study of “not only … diseases found in the mummified animal and human remains of Egypt, but [also] those of prehistoric man and fossil vertebrates as well.” This definition of paleopathology is widely accepted today, and new techniques have led to innovative discoveries that have enabled scientists to document the demography of disease and its effects through time (Rothschild and Martin, 1993).

Taphonomy is the study of all the processes that interact to produce a recovered fossil from a once-living organism (Lyman, 1994). A clear understanding of taphonomy is essential to using fossils to interpret once-living biota, including paleo-ecological reconstructions, among other endeavors.

This chapter reports the paleopathology and taphonomic alterations evident in several specimens recovered from the Porcupine Cave deposits, and also provides background information about the accumulation of bones in a cave setting.

Materials and Methods

The specimens that were examined are listed in appendix 9.1. All measurements are in millimeters unless otherwise noted, and dimensions are illustrated in figures 9.19.3. A dial caliper and osteometric board were used to obtain measurements.

Abbreviations specific to this chapter are as follows:


Canine breadth


Width across canines


Canine length


Distal breadth


Femur head measurement


Foramen magnum height


Foramen magnum breadth


Greatest breadth across zygomas


Greatest length


Height of skull


Inner diameter




Length/width of M1


Length/width of M2


Length/width of P1


Length/width of P2


Length/width of P3


Length of P4 blade


Length of P4 across protocone


Least shaft width


Length of tooth row, C-M2


Proximal breadth


Palatine length


Postorbital constriction


Postorbital process



W 13–13

Width across incisor row

W P4-P4

Width across premolars


Width across occipital condyles


Width of P4 blade


Width across P4 protocone


Paleopathology and Taphonomic Modification of Mammalian Bones from Porcupine Cave

Figure 9.1 Dimensions of measurements for rodent and lagomorph specimens discussed in the text. (Drawing by C. Suzane Ware.)

Bone Accumulation in Caves

Bones are deposited at sites such as Porcupine Cave by four major processes (Andrews, 1990):

  1. 1. Animals die in the cave, particularly during hibernation, denning, or both.

  2. 2. Animals fall into the cave through a sinkhole at the surface.

  3. 3. Animals are taken into the cave by predators.

  4. 4. Bones are transported into the cave by wood rats (Neotoma) after having passed through the digestive tracts of carnivores or raptors or having become disarticulated from carcasses decomposing outside the cave entrance.

The latter two taphonomic scenarios in particular seem to have been important at Porcupine Cave, although the possibility of some animals falling into the cave through intermittently open crevices cannot be discounted. Such sinkhole accumulations have been documented many times at other cave sites (Buckland, 1823; Brain, 1958; Morris, 1974), although as yet no characteristic sinkhole accumulations have been recognized at Porcupine Cave. For example, White et al. (1984) pointed out that natural trap sites have a high concentration of carnivore skeletal material. Morris (1974) noted that natural trap sites are characterized by relatively complete skeletons in caves, deposited largely intact, unless subsequent damage has occurred by trampling, gnawing, or weathering. Neither a particularly high concentration of carnivores nor complete skeletons are found in Porcupine Cave.

As with other cave sites, predation was a major factor in creating the skeletal deposits at Porcupine Cave. Owls and raptors may contribute large amounts of small mammal bones to cave deposits. The regurgitated pellets of predatory birds contain bones with a suite of distinctive physical characteristics that distinguish them from the bones found in carnivore scat. Because some of these birds (the Snowy Owl, Nyctea scandiaca; the Barn Owl, Tyto alba; and the Great Horned Owl, Bubo virginianus) swallow their prey whole and have a shorter digestive tract than mammalian carnivores, these characteristics include minimal corrosive damage to the bones; skulls often nipped off behind the orbits; minimal damage to maxilla and mandible, with teeth often intact and still in the alveoli; and minimally affected articulation surfaces of the long bones.


Paleopathology and Taphonomic Modification of Mammalian Bones from Porcupine Cave

Figure 9.2 Dimensions of measurements for DMNH 30076, Canis latrans skull, discussed in the text and illustrated in figure 9.7. (Drawing by C. Suzane Ware.)

Bones that have passed through the digestive tracts of mammalian carnivores, such as the coyote, Canis latrans, or the red fox, Vulpes vulpes, tend to exhibit severe damage from initial dismemberment and chewing, as well as from highly corrosive stomach acids acting upon them after ingestion. The characteristics of bones from carnivore scat in comparison with those from raptor pellets include extreme damage to maxillae and mandibles, including loss or partial digestion of teeth. Teeth and bones in the carnivore digestive system are subject to the effects of passage through a long digestive tract, where they spend much more time exposed to highly corrosive stomach acids. Since carnivores are known to chew the ends of bones to extract the nutrients, the ends of long bones are usually absent. The ends of long bones may also be absent owing to their vulnerability to the digestive process: the bone diaphysis erodes and the bones become rounded in appearance (Andrews, 1990:figures 1, 3).

The specimens described in the remainder of this chapter and others discussed in chapter 22 document many of these characteristics of predation. In addition, wood rats (and potentially other rodents) are implicated through such features as the presence of gnaw marks on the bones, and by the sheer numbers of fossil specimens. Mead and Murray (1991:124) note that “middens containing large numbers of bones [as do those in Porcupine Cave] are indicative of raptor pellet introduction.” Dial and Czaplewksi (1990) have observed ground squirrels (Spermophilus), white-footed mice (Peromyscus), lizards, and snakes using wood rat middens; owls regurgitating pellets over and near the middens; and porcupines (Erethizon) bringing bones into the area of wood rat dens. All of these taxa have been found as fossils in the deposits of Porcupine Cave.

Additional potential modifications of bones in fossil sites are those that occur after the bones have been deposited at the site (Andrews, 1990; Lyman, 1994). Although trampling is not evident for bones at Porcupine Cave, crushing and/or fracturing of bones by falling rocks and the weight of accumulating deposits, as well as by human foot traffic, was probably not uncommon.


Paleopathology and Taphonomic Modification of Mammalian Bones from Porcupine Cave

Figure 9.3 Dimensions of measurements for DMNH 26646, Canis latrans femur, discussed in text and illustrated in figure 9.9. (Drawing by C. Suzane Ware.)

Sometimes the damage seen on a bone is not the work of disease or trauma, or of postmortem processes related to pre-dation or scavenging, but instead was sustained during the excavation or handling of the fossil. By the time a bone that has been collected in Porcupine Cave moves through the process of collection, screen washing, picking, accessioning, and cataloging in a museum collection, there have been many opportunities to damage it. Such excavation-induced damage of bone was not characteristic of the specimens discussed in this chapter.

Paleopathology and Taphonomic Alteration

More than a hundred specimens from Porcupine Cave show signs of disease and trauma, and many more have been gnawed by rodents. In this preliminary study only a few specimens are described and figured as a representative sample. Appendix 9.1 lists additional specimens that were examined and ascribed to the following categories of bone modification: carnivore digestion; raptor digestion; disease, injury, or trauma; and rodent gnawing.

Paleopathology and Taphonomic Modification of Mammalian Bones from Porcupine Cave

Figure 9.4 Lepus sp. (hare or jackrabbit), DMNH 42146, innominate fragment from Mark’s Sink. (SEM photograph by Louis H. Taylor.)

Carnivore Digestion

Lepus Sp. (Hare or Jackrabbit)

DMNH 42146 from Mark’s Sink (8/96); innominate fragment (figure 9.4). Measurements: GL, 32.95; GB, 7.50; LSW, 3.85; PB, 11.50. This specimen exhibits extreme acid etching and severe corrosion over its entire surface. Articular surfaces are missing and the bone itself is severely compromised in density and completeness. The bone has passed through the digestive system of a carnivore, as evidenced by its overall eroded appearance and fragility.


Paleopathology and Taphonomic Modification of Mammalian Bones from Porcupine Cave

Figure 9.5 Lepus sp. (hare or jackrabbit), DMNH 42148, fragmentary thoracic vertebra from Mark’s Sink. (SEM photograph by Louis H. Taylor.)

Lepus Sp. (Hare or Jackrabbit)

DMNH 42148 from Mark’s Sink (8/96); fragmentary vertebra (figure 9.5). Measurements: GL, 17.95; GB, 14.0. This vertebral fragment exhibits extreme acid etching and severe corrosion over its entire surface, which suggest digestion by a carnivore. The proximal centrum is intact. The dorsal side shows breakage and erosion. The ventral side exhibits extreme damage by digestive acids. The transverse processes are eroded to the point of being sharp fragments.

Lepus Sp. (Hare or Jackrabbit)

DMNH 20052 from the Badger Room (7/94); right calcaneum (figure 9.6). Measurements: GL, 19.80; GB, 10.50; LSW, 5.50. This calcaneum exhibits the wear typical of passage through the intestinal tract of a carnivore. Since this bone is one of the denser ones in the body, much of the bone remains intact even after digestion. The wear is most severe on the dorsal side opposite the articular facets for the talus muscle. The proximal end of the calcaneal tuber and the distal end of the calcaneus are missing. On the dorsal side the surface of the bone is extremely damaged and exhibits severe bone loss. The remaining bone has a honeycomb appearance.

Puncture Wounds

Canis Latrans (Coyote)

DMNH 30076 from the Badger Room (7/94); skull (figure 9.7). Measurements (values marked a are for alveoli only): GL, 186.0; POC, 37.50; GB, 90.0; HS, 55.35; CC, 28.65; L/WP2, R L 12.60, W 3.90; W I3-I3, R 12.40a; L/WP3, L 12.65, R 12.65 / L 4.80, R 4.75; W P4-P4, 53.50; LPC, R 6.30; FMB, 11.05 (ID); WP4PC, R 9.50; FMH, 12.50 (ID); WP4BL, R 2.35; POP, L 22.25, R 19.05; L/WM1, L 13.10 R 13.10/L 14.90, R 14.55; WOC, 30.0; L/WM2, L 7.80, R 7.80 / L 10.90, R 10.90; HS, 55.35; PL, 93.45 (from R side); CL, L 10.25a, R 10.25a; LTR, R C-M2, 99.80; CB, L 6.50a. This skull is extremely fragile. The dentition is partially complete and is typical in size and morphology of that of a modern coyote. The dentition, which includes the L P3-M2 and R P1-M1, is heavily worn. The right parietal area of the skull is severely damaged from the frontoparietal suture posteriorly to the occiput (including the sagittal crest). The left parietal area is cracked and extremely fragile from weathering and postmortem breakage. The left nasal area (including both ventral and dorsal locations) is missing. The bullae are badly damaged bilaterally. There is severe damage to the nasal, maxilla, and lacrimal areas on the dorsal side.

The skull shows two puncture wounds and one area where the puncture is visible but has not broken through. One puncture wound is slightly anterior to the left postorbital process of the frontal on the dorsal side. Another is directly between the right P4 and M1 on the palate. A third puncture wound, which did not perforate the left palatine, shows as a slight depression adjacent to P3. These puncture wounds are consistent with the bite pattern and canine tooth size of Canis latrans. As Grooms (1993:71, 73, 158) shows, it is possible for coyotes to inflict such puncture wounds during a myriad of behavior patterns. The puncture marks measure 7.85 × 7.85 mm (left palatine), 3.75 × 3.75 mm (right palatine), and 3.50 × 3.49 mm (frontal).


Paleopathology and Taphonomic Modification of Mammalian Bones from Porcupine Cave

Figure 9.6 Lepus sp. (hare or jackrabbit), DMNH 20052, right calcaneum from the Badger Room. (SEM photograph by Louis H. Taylor.)

Trauma or Disease

Rodentia Cf. Neotoma or Spermophilus (Wood Rat or Ground Squirrel)

DMNH 41425 from DMNH Velvet Room excavation (G8/8A) (7/93); right innominate (figure 9.8). Measurements: GL, 32.50; GB, 11.60; LSW, 4.95. This specimen, a right innominate, shows wear patterns consistent with bone from a regurgitated owl or raptor pellet. The ends are missing, but the bone is not highly corroded and the acetabulum morphology is distinct. This specimen shows acute osteomyelitis (an opportunistic staphylococcal infection that causes an inflammation of the bone marrow) resulting from infection incurred after a break. The disease is severe and involves the entire acetabulum area.

Canis Latrans (Coyote)

DMNH 26646 from the Badger Room (7/94); right femur (figure 9.9). Measurements: GL, 168.5; PB, 33.4; DB, 27.3; LSW, 11.3; FH, 16.3 × 16.2. This femur shows extensive pathology involving the entire distal end, both posteriorly and anteriorly. The patellar groove (trochlea) is slightly eroded dorsally. Both the lateral and medial epicondyles are heavily encrusted with extra bone callus, giving the entire distal surface a heavily porous appearance. The caudal aspect of the lateral and medial epicondyles shows extensive corrosion, lipping, and callus buildup. The popliteal surface is relatively smooth, but in the area of the medial supracondylar tuberosity there is extensive callus. Both the lateral and medial condyles are lipped, with the lateral condyle showing two small holes on the surface. The overall portrait of this femur suggests typical degenerative joint disease in the form of arthritis, which has contributed to the loss of the medullary architecture. In addition to the presence of degenerative joint disease, osteomyelitis brought on by a staphylococcal infection, probably as a result of a fracture, is shown on the bone. Since there is no visible injury in this area and no signs of a badly healed fracture, we conclude that the break that originally caused this trauma may have been in the proximal area of either the tibia or the fibula and would have traveled upward to the distal end of the femur. The head of the femur is relatively untouched, with the exception of some erosion at the junction of the epiphysis and the neck of the bone. This weathering could be the result of the femur’s exposure in the cave over time. The proximal end of the femur (greater trochanter, trochanteric fossa, lesser trochanter, intertrochanteric crest) exhibits no anomalies, and the fovea is clearly delineated and undamaged. The diaphysis is smooth with no anomalies.


DMNH 42149 from Mark’s Sink (L23) (7/97); metapodial (figure 9.10). Measurements: GL, 13.50; GB, 7.15; PB, 3.49; DB, 7.15. This metapodial shows a swollen proximal area with a draining sinus, which is the bone’s response to an earlier break. The distal articular surface is undamaged. This specimen is consistent with others that have shown the bone’s response to injury and resulting infection. The draining sinus has no rounded edges or other indications that the animal lived with this affliction; the edges are sharp and well defined, suggesting that this was the cause of death.

Rodent Gnawing

Lepus Sp. (Hare or Jackrabbit)

DMNH 42147 from Mark’s Sink (8/96); long bone fragment (figure 9.11). Measurements: GL, 45.05; GW, 13.40; LSW, 3.50. This long bone fragment has been severely altered through the process of postmortem gnawing, possibly by wood rats. Splitting on the articular ends, the wedge-shaped bone loss areas, and the linear markings on the diaphysis are all consistent with this type of bone modification.


Paleopathology and Taphonomic Modification of Mammalian Bones from Porcupine Cave

Figure 9.7 Canis latrans (coyote), DMNH 30076, skull from the Badger Room. (Drawing by PJ Kremer.)

Paleopathology and Taphonomic Modification of Mammalian Bones from Porcupine Cave

Figure 9.8 Rodentia cf. Neotoma (wood rat) or Spermophilus (ground squirrel), DMNH 41425, right innominate from the DMNH Velvet Room excavation. (SEM photograph by Louis H. Taylor.)

Discussion and Conclusions

Taphonomic features of Porcupine Cave bones include those characteristic of predation and wood rat accumulations of raptor pellets and carnivore scat, including acid etching and digestion of some specimens (figures 9.4, 9.5, 9.6), broken parts of bones, and abundance of small mammal taxa. There is also postmortem modification from breakage, gnawing, weathering, and excavation (DMNH 42147, figure 9.11).

From a paleopathology standpoint, the disease, trauma, and calamity evident from the fossils of Porcupine Cave fall into four categories: (p.89)

  1. 1. Injury and puncture wounds, such as those exhibited in the skull of Canis latrans (DMNH 30076, figure 9.7).

  2. 2. Fractures, such as that of the metapodial (DMNH 42149, figure 9.10).

  3. 3. Infectious disease, such as the osteomyelitis exhibited in the Lepus sp. innominate (DMNH 42146, figure 9.4) and the Canis latrans femur (DMNH 26646, figure 9.9).

  4. 4. Trauma, such as that seen in the original break of the rodent (Spermophilus or Neotoma sp.) innominate (DMNH 41425, figure 9.8).

Additional examples are listed in appendix 9.1. Some specimens fit one of the criteria, while others exhibit most or all of them.

The examples discussed in this chapter add to the overall understanding of the bone material in Porcupine Cave. This first survey of the data suggests that further study of the paleo-pathology of fossils from the cave would be fruitful in determining the extent to which disease was present, how bone has responded to stress and trauma, and how animals have used the bone material as a source of calcium and nutrients. In this way, the bones of the dead become the key to understanding the living.

Paleopathology and Taphonomic Modification of Mammalian Bones from Porcupine Cave

Figure 9.9 Canis latrans (coyote), DMNH 26646, right femur from the Badger Room. (SEM photograph by Louis H. Taylor.)

Paleopathology and Taphonomic Modification of Mammalian Bones from Porcupine Cave

Figure 9.10 Rodentia cf. Neotoma (wood rat), DMNH 42149, metapodial from Mark’s Sink. (SEM photograph by Louis H. Taylor.)


Paleopathology and Taphonomic Modification of Mammalian Bones from Porcupine Cave

Figure 9.11 Lepus sp. (hare or jackrabbit), DMNH 42147, gnawed long bone fragment from Mark’s Sink. (SEM photograph by Louis H. Taylor.)

Appendix 9.1. Specimens from Porcupine Cave Showing Taphonomic or Paleopathological Modification

Carnivore Digestion

Badger Room

DMNH 42661, Artiodactyla femur head fragment (1994); DMNH 42721, Lepus sp. metapodial (7/94).

Crystal Room

DMNH 42660, Artiodactyla, long bone fragment (7/94).

Mark’s Sink

DMNH 42650, Lepus sp. long bone fragment; DMNH 42651, Lepus sp. metapodial; DMNH 42654, Lepus sp. metapodial; DMNH 42656, Lepus sp. femur fragment; DMNH 42658, Artiodactyla long bone fragment (7/94); DMNH 42668, Ro-dentia skull fragment; DMNH 42673, Lepus sp. long bone fragment; DMNH 42685, Rodentia calcaneum; DMNH 42689, Rodentia rib fragment; DMNH 42691, Rodentia long bone fragment; DMNH 42692, Lepus sp. ulna fragment (1994); DMNH 42711 Rodentia femur fragment (L18); DMNH 42715, Lepus sp. metapodial (8/8A) (7/93); DMNH 42716 Lepus sp. metapodial (18); DMNH 42717 Lepus sp. metapodial (L18).

Raptor Digestion

Badger Room

DMNH 42659, Artiodactyla long bone fragment (7/94); DMNH 42665, Lepus sp. L innominate fragment (7/94); DMNH 42690, Lepus sp. R innominate fragment (L6).

Dmnh Velvet Room

DMNH 42706, Rodentia tibia fragment (8/8A) mixed (7/93).

Fissure Fill A

DMNH 42720, Lepus sp. calcanea (7/94).

Mark’s Sink

DMNH 42662, Lepus sp. innominate; DMNH 42664, Lepus sp. femur fragment; DMNH 42669 Lepus sp. R innominate fragment (G9-Lb) (1994); DMNH 42671, Rodentia ulna fragment; DMNH 42675, Lepus sp. calcanea (32 specimens); DMNH 42708, Rodentia calcaneum (L 33); DMNH 42710 Rodentia tibia fragment (1994); DMNH 42714, Lepus sp. long bone fragment (L23) (7/97); DMNH 42716, Lepus sp. tibia fragment (L23) (1994); DMNH 42718, Lepus sp. metapodial; DMNH 42722, Lepus sp. femur head fragment (MS50-KS52).

Disease, Injury, or Trauma

Badger Room

DMNH 42653, Lepus sp. long bone fragment (swelling) (7/94); DMNH 42655, Rodentia L innominate fragment (periostosis) (7/94); DMNH 42678, Rodentia metapodial (break) (7/94); DMNH 42687, Lepus sp. metapodial (puncture) (mixed) (7/94); DMNH 42701, Rodentia rib (bony exostoses) (1993); DMNH 42725, Lepus sp. metapodial (bony exostoses) (1993).

(p.91) Generator Dome

DMNH 42675, Rodentia metapodial (puncture); DMNH 42686, Rodentia metapodial (puncture); DMNH 42694, Rodentia claw (puncture); DMNH 42700, Lepus sp. metapodial fragment (puncture); DMNH 42726, Lepus sp. metapodial (puncture) (L1).

Fissure Fill A

DMNH 42676, Rodentia metapodial (bony exostoses) (7/94); DMNH 42693, Rodentia rib fragment (infection) (7/94).

Mark’s Sink

DMNH 42663, Lepus sp. distal femur fragment (periostosis) (L2~) (1997); DMNH 42670, Rodentia calcaneum (periostitis) (L23) (7/97); DMNH 42679, Rodentia tibia/fibula fragment (fused/periostosis) (G10-L3); DMNH 42681, Rodentia tibia fragment (puncture) (L2~); DMNH 42682, Rodentia rib (bony exostoses) (L1~); DMNH 42683, Lepus sp. metapodial (puncture); DMNH 42684, Rodentia metapodial (swelling) (L1~) (1994); DMNH 42688, Lepus metapodial (swelling) (G4, L6); DMNH 42696, Lepus sp. proximal femur fragment (puncture); DMNH 42698, Lepus sp. metapodial (osteomyelitis from puncture) (L24) (7/97); DMNH 42699, Lepus sp. long bone fragment; DMNH 42702, Rodentia patella (arthritis) (L23) (7/97); DMNH 42704, Rodentia metapodial (L31) (7/97); DMNH 42707, Ro-dentia metapodial (bony exostoses) (L23) (7/97); DMNH 42709, Rodentia metapodial (periostitis) (G7) (1994); DMNH 42713, Lepus sp. metapodial (osteomyelitis + periostitis) (L23) (7/97); DMNH 42719, Lepus sp. scapula fragment (L29) (7/97); DMNH 42724, Spermophilus metacarpal (swelling) (L26) (7/97).

Dmnh Velvet Room

DMNH 42666, Spermophilus sp. tibia/fibula (fused) (G4-LI) (7/92); DMNH 42677, Rodentia radius (break + bony exos-toses) (G7) (1994); DMNH 42697, Rodentia metapodials (fused from badly healed break) (main dig B) (G21-L11); DMNH 42703, Rodentia R edentulous jaw fragment (dental abscess) (8/8A) (7/93); DMNH 42727, Rodentia clavicle (healed break) (G1, Lb) (7/92).

Rodent Gnawing

Fissure Fill A

DMNH 42667, Taxidea taxus jaw fragment (7/94).

Mark’s Sink

DMNH 42657, Lepus sp. rib fragment; DMNH 42672, Lepus sp. calcaneum; DMNH 42680, Artiodactyla metapodial (L30) (7/94); DMNH 42705, Rodentia metapodial (L18) (7/97); DMNH 42723, Silvilagus sp. calcaneum.

Will’s Hole

DMNH 42652, Lepus sp. distal femur fragment (G7-L26) (7/97).


C. Suzane Ware thanks Elaine Anderson for the opportunity to coauthor this chapter and to participate in the ongoing research on the paleopathology of Porcupine Cave. Elaine’s generosity in sharing her knowledge, her patience in teaching, and her humor and general inspiration will always be much appreciated.

The authors acknowledge Diane C. Carson for assistance in editing and manuscript preparation, Kathy Honda for providing research material and cataloging specimens, PJ Kremer for providing the drawing of the coyote skull and femur, Louis H. Taylor for providing the SEM photographs, Russell Graham for his guidance, and George Dennison for bringing modern bones to us for comparison and for helping to screen wash and pick matrix at Porcupine Cave. Thanks are also due to Alison Blyth, who helped immensely in sorting specimens for examination; to Heidi Schutz for helping us work out computer glitches; to Beth Fisher, our camp manager at the Porcupine Cave site; and to Mary Odano, who provided us with comparative osteological material. Special thanks are extended to Craig Childs for great conversation and the inspiration to continue the project. We are especially grateful for the contributions of Robert Taylor and Daniel N. Steinheimer, both of Alameda East Veterinary Hospital, in reviewing skeletal material, interpreting radiographs, and providing diagnoses.