Abstract - Vertebrate Remains From Wind Cave, Custer County, South Dakota
Martin, James E. 1989. Vertebrate Remains From Wind Cave, Custer County, South Dakota. 19 p.
Vertebrate remains were recently discovered from three areas in the Chamber of Lost Souls in Wind Cave National Park. The specimens were found near the surface, but 500 feet from the nearest cave entrance, and they probably indicate a former opening into the Chamber of Lost Souls. Bats, rabbits, white-footed mice, woodrats, and possible Bison have been identified in the cave. The deposit may be an old sinkhole that has since been sealed, and flowing water may have reworked some bones from a carnivore den and/or a woodrat nest. With available specimens, no age may be assigned to the remains, but the thick encrustation of the bones with manganese dioxide and calcium carbonate suggests greater antiquitiy than the settlement of the Black Hills. Additional exploration and excavations are required to more fully understand the vertebrate life in this unique setting.
Did You Know?
Fire is an important factor in protecting the prairie. Historically, fires burned across the prairie every 4 to 7 years. Fires burn the small trees that would otherwise march across the prairie and turn the grasslands to forest.