PAGE 2VOLUME 5, ISSUE 3
Ice Age animals in Southwest U.S. rock art, part 2
graphs in the Southwest U.S.which could possibly repre-sent such ani-mals. A couple of them are shownin
.For those inter-ested in informa-tion about thevarious speciesof pronghornthat were stillliving in theAmericas whenearly people werehere see the veryaccessible articleby Darren Nash,2010, at science-blogs.com called
Release the Fossil Pronghorns!!
Extinct and Ex-tant Pronghorns: America’sPseudo-antelopes
byMark Gelbart,2012; and
Prehis-toric Pronghorn: Ancient Antelope,
about an exhibitat the ArizonaMuseum of Natu-ral History.One petroglyphpanel with a pronghorn-typeanimal or extinct early ante-lope which Iphotographedis high on therock face(approx 15feet up) atwhat mayhave beenground levelthousands of years ago. Onthe samepanel areother ice ageanimals.
There is a petroglyph panelin Arizona which could possi-There is no reason not toexpect that some of thesenow extinct animals couldhave been depicted in therock art of early NativeAmericans and I have takenmany petroglyph photo-
PLEISTOCENE COALITION NEWS
“The fossil re- cord may have holes in it that can be plugged with the ani- mals depicted in rock art.”
have taken many photo-graphs of animal depictionswhich are noteasy to identify.One example isshown in
.As mentionedabove, apartfrom thinking of such depictionsas stylized ver-sions of well-known con-temporaryanimals or asimaginaryanimals, Ioffer a fewpossible in-terpretationsbased onanimalswhich areknown from thefossil record.The
interpretation isbased on anextinct camelwhich is knownto have beenpresent in theAmericas whenearly peoplewere here. Theother two inter-pretations arenot as conven-ient geographi-cally or time-wise but shouldnot be automatically ruledout.
There is onlyone speciesof pronghornliving in theAmerican westtoday. How-ever, duringthe Pleisto-cene andPliocene therewere at least12-14 differ-ent speciesand some withvery unusualhorns. Prong-horns had a range stretchingfrom Florida to California andfrom Mexico to Canada.
“There is no reason not to expect that some of these now ex- tinct ani- mals would have been de- picted in the rock art of early Native Americans.”
Fig. 2. Upper Left:
Southwest U.S. petroglyph of an unidenti-fied animal; Photo by Ray Urbaniak. Very noticeable character-istics of the animal include a long neck or trunk, a relativelylarge body, long straight legs, and a short tail. For comparison,I offer a couple of animals of the camel family known from theU.S. Pleistocene—Miocene age fossil record, as well as an ex-tinct elephant from Asia.
, an extinct camel known from the Miocene of Colo-rado, etc. According to the fossil record as presently known itdied out before the Pliocene, c. 5 million years ago.
an extinct camel that lived in western NorthAmerica along with early Native Americans until the end of thePleistocene about 10,000 years ago. This animal could verycertainly have been subject of depiction in Native Americanrock art.
an extinct elephant fromthe Miocene-Pleistocene of Africa, Europe, and Asia. All com-parison images: Wikimedia Commons.
One of the petroglyph panels in Utah with depictions of severaldifferent horned or antlered animals in a sequence (Photo: Ray Urba-niak). There appear to be two different types of pronghorn depictedsuggesting at least one before the animal’s extinction.