Gypsum Cave

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Gypsum Cave
Gypsum Cave is located in Nevada
Coordinates:36°13′28″N 114°15′37″W / 36.22444°N 114.26028°W / 36.22444; -114.26028Coordinates: 36°13′28″N 114°15′37″W / 36.22444°N 114.26028°W / 36.22444; -114.26028
Governing body:Nevada Division of State Parks
NRHP Reference#:10000443[1]
MARKER #:103
Added to NRHP:July 8, 2010
 
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Gypsum Cave
Gypsum Cave is located in Nevada
Coordinates:36°13′28″N 114°15′37″W / 36.22444°N 114.26028°W / 36.22444; -114.26028Coordinates: 36°13′28″N 114°15′37″W / 36.22444°N 114.26028°W / 36.22444; -114.26028
Governing body:Nevada Division of State Parks
NRHP Reference#:10000443[1]
MARKER #:103
Added to NRHP:July 8, 2010

Gypsum Cave was inhabited between 8500 BC and 6500 BC by the giant ground sloth.[2] The 300 by 120 feet (91 by 37 m) six room cave was first documented by Mark Harrington in a 1930 edition of Scientific American.[3][4]

History

Human habitation of the cave dates to around 3000 BC. Mark Harrington provided the first documentation of the contents of the cave following excavation in 1930-1931.[4] Human habitation was at the same time as at other local sites like Tule Springs, Lake Mojave and the Pinto Basin.[5] The cave contains six rooms and is measured at 320 feet long by 120 feet wide. When excavated, archaeologists found the dung, backbone, claws and reddish-brown hair of the now-extinct ground sloth. Through radiocarbon dating, it was theorized that the remains of the sloth dated back to 8500BC. [6] The feces has given information about what the environment and vegetation of the area was because the sloth was a herbivore. This ancient plant eater survived on capers, mustards, lilies, grasses and grapes. Because of the dry climate in Nevada, this seemed unusual. However this was also an era of ice ages which caused lakes and ponds to form. The geology of the area shows that the closest water supply was between 6-12 miles away. [7]


References