Research

Richard S. White

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(Rich is 3rd from left)


Current Research


Capybara from Terapa, Sonora and the biogeography of North American fossil capybaras

With my colleagues Jim Mead, Gary Morgan and Nick Czaplewski, I am currently working on describing the fossil capybara specimens from the site of San Clemente de Terapa, on the Rio Moctezuma in Sonora, Mexico. Capybaras are relatively common at the site, with more than 30 specimens identified. Recently, Jim Mead, Sandy Swift and I travelled to San Diego, where we examined a spectacular capybara skull from a lake deposit in San Diego County, as well as spent time at the San Diego Zoo watching and photographing their group of 9 capybaras.

The capybara is the world's largest living rodent, which can reach a weight of 150 pounds or more. Many fossil capybara are even larger, as was the capybara from Terapa. Modern capybara are at least partly amphibious, and eat lake, swamp and marsh vegetation, as well as grazing on dry land.

Capybaras are known in temperate North America in the Blancan, Irvingtonian and Rancholabrean - that is, for most of the last 3 million years. Our studies will help illuminate the factors which allowed capybaras to extend from their ancestral home in South America into Central America, and ultimately into the southern United States.

Capybara at SD Zoo 2.jpg Capybara at San Diego Zoo 3.jpg

Photos courtesy of Sandy L. Swift


111 Ranch, Safford, Arizona

Survey and Inventory of Late Pliocene sediments have yielded abundant remains of fossil herps, birds and mammals which lived about 2.32 million years ago. I am studying several of the groups of animals recovered, including deer, antelope (pronghorn) and carnivores. The carnivores are being studied jointly with Greg McDonald (National Park Service).

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Click on the picture for a larger version


Capromeryx

Revision of the genus Capromeryx, an extinct 4-horned pronghorn. Remains of this animal have been found in Arizona, Texas, New Mexico, Nebraska, California and Sonora, Baja California, Chihuahua and Southern Mexico. Eight or more species have been described; Jan Saysette and I are revising the genus, and reducing the number of species to three species: an Early Blancan form, a Blancan/Irvingtonian form and an Irvingtonian/Rancholabrean form.


Stockoceros

Large samples of the extinct 4-horned pronghorn Stockoceros, have been described from San Josecito cave in Mexico and from Papago Springs Cave in southern Arizona. The two forms, S. conklingi from Mexico and S. onusrosagris from Arizona, have never been directly compared. I have measured all available specimens from both populations; preliminary results suggest that they are nearly the same size, with the northern population being just slightly larger than the more southern population.

The question of whether female Stockoceros had horns has been the subject of considerable speculation. It now appears, based on a beautifully preserved female skull from Musk Ox Cave in New Mexico, that females had greatly reduced horncores, even smaller than those of female Antilocapra. Why this hasn't been noticed in the past may be a function of preservation and collecting bias.


Ceratomeryx from Idaho

Phil Gensler from Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument and I are currently redescribing the material of Ceratomeryx in the U.S.N.M. and some isolated elements in the HAFO collections and the University of Michigan. We should have something interesting to say about this material in the near future, based especially on the nearly complete skull Gazin found with the type specimen.


Deer from El Golfo, Sonora, Mexico

El Golfo is an Irvingtonian locality at the head of the Gulf of California. Fossils are found in deltaic sediments of the ancestral Colorado River. I am describing the many specimens of fossil deer which have been found there by Chris Shaw (Page Museum) and Fred Croxen (Arizona Western College, Yuma) and their field crews. At this time, it appears that white-tail deer are defintely present, mule deer may be present, and that there is at least one other larger cervid species in the fauna (Navahoceros?)

Keving Moodie

Keving Moodie, then at the University of Arizona, standing over a complete shell of the giant tortoise Hesperotestudo found by Richard White. This is the only complete shell ever found at El Golfo.

Fred Croxen

Fred Croxen from Arizona Western College and Robert Predmore in the field at El Golfo.

A lower jaw of the deer (Odocoileus)

Lower jaw of the deer (Odocoileus). Photo by D. Sussman, courtesy F. Croxen

The El Golfo Crew in 2002

The El Golfo Crew in 2002 in at the El Capitan Cantina in the Village of El Golfo de Santa Clara.

Biosphere Research Station in Mexico

The Mexican Government maintains a Biosphere Research Station which is located right in the middle of the fossil bearing exposures.

Click on the picture for a larger version

Also see http://www.tarpits.org/


Blancan Camelops

Working with Mary Thompson (Idaho Museum of Natural History) I am currently describing a skeleton of the camel Camelops traviswhitei which was recovered by Ted Galusha of the American Museum of Natural History in 1938. This specimen includes a beautifully preserved skull and jaws. We are comparing this specimen to other reported occurrences of Camelops from the Blancan, including a skull from Hagerman, Idaho.

Blancan Camelops Skull (Side)

Click on the picture for a larger version

Also see:
Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument
Idaho Museum of Natural History


Paleo Deer Hunter

(C) Ray Troll


R. S. WHITE BIBLIOGRAPHY

  • Moser, E.W. and White, R.S., 1968, Seri Clay Figurines, Kiva v. 33 (3), p. 133-154. pdf file
  • White, R.S., 1972, A Recently Collected Specimen of Adocus (Testudines: Dermatemydidae) from New Jersey, Notulae Naturae 447, p. 1-10. pdf file
  • White, R.S., 1972, Current Research in New Jersey Archaeology, 26th Annual Bulletin of the Cape May Geographical Society, p. 8-10.
  • Richards, H.G., White, R.S., and and Madden, K.,1973, Cretaceous-Tertiary Vertebrates from Sewell, New Jersey, Abstracts with Program, Northeastern Section, Geological Society of America.
  • Richards, H.G., and White, R.S., 1974, The Pliocene – Pleistocene Boundary in Florida, U.S.A., International Colloquium on the Problem of the Boundary Between the Neogene and Quaternary, Collection of Papers, Number 4, p. 145-147. pdf file
  • White, R.S., 1974, Faunal Remains, in The Lenape Lake Shelter (36Mr23): A Middle Woodland Site, Pennsylvania Archaeologist v. 44 (3), p. 47.
  • White, R.S., 1974, Bones of the White-tailed Deer from Archaeological Sites, Bulletin, Archaeological Society of New Jersey, v. 30 (2), p. 16-19.
  • White, R.S., 1974, Archaeological Resources Along the Assiscunk Creek, Burlington County, New Jersey, (abstract) Bulletin, New Jersey Academy of Sciences, v. 19 (1), p. 19.
  • White, R.S. 1974, Notes on Some Archaeological Faunas from the Northeastern United States, Archaeology of Eastern North America v. 2 (1), p. 67-72.
  • White, R.S., 1975, The Analysis of Faunal remains from Archaeological Sites (abstract), Eastern States Archaeological Federation Bulletin 34, p. 15-16.
  • White, R.S., 1975, Faunal Remains from Archaeological Sites in the Teotihuacan Valley, Mexico. Honors Thesis, Department of Anthropology, Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
  • White, R.S., 1976, Recent Archaeological Salvage Excavations on the Central Coast of Sonora, Mexico, Paper presented at Pecos Conference, August, 1976.
  • White, R.S., 1978, A Cultural Resource Assessment for the Proposed Water Treatment Plant, City of Burlington, New Jersey, report prepared for Taylor, Wiseman and Taylor, Consulting Engineers, and for the State of New Jersey.
  • White, R.S., 1978, Bone Tools, in Rosentahl, E.J. (editor), The Quijotoa Valley Project, Cultural Resources Management Division, Western Archaeological Center, National Park Service, p. 208-210. pdf file
  • White, R.S., 1978, Archaeological Faunas from the Quijotoa Valley, Arizona, in Rosenthal, E.J. (editor) The Quijotoa Valley Project, Cultural Resources Management Division, Western Archaeological Center, National Park Service, p. 224-254. pdf file
  • Linares, O. and R.S. White, 1980, Terrestrial Fauna from Cerro Brujo (CA-3) in Boca del Toro and La Pitahaya (IS-3)in Chiriqui, in Linares, Olga and Anthony J. Ranere, editors, Adaptive Radiations in Prehistoric Panama, Harvard University Press, pages 181-193. pdf file
  • Downing, K.E., and White, R.S., 1995, The Cingulates (Xenarthra) Of The Leisey Shell Pit Local Fauna (Irvingtonian), Hillsborough County, Florida, Bulletin, Florida State Museum of Natural History, v. 37 (12), p. 375-396.
  • White, R.S., 1999, Animal Skulls: A Guide for Teachers, Naturalists and Interpreters, International Wildlife Museum, Tucson Arizona, 54 p.
  • White, R.S., 2000, Recollections of Seriland: A Personal Account. Journal of the Southwest, Volume 42(3):471-484. pdf file
  • White, R.S., and Tegowski, B.J., 2000, Proboscidean fossils from the San Simon River Valley, Graham and Cochise Counties, Arizona, Mesa Southwest Museum Bulletin 7, p.101-112. pdf file
  • Thompson, M.E., Meldrum, J., White, R.S., and Thrasher, L.C., 2002, Camel tracks and trackways from late Pliocene deposits,Graham County, Arizona, (abstract), Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology v. 22 (Supplement to Number 3), p. 114A.
  • Thompson, M.E. and White, R.S., 2003, Late Cenozoic camelids (Mammalia:Artiodactyla) from Graham County, Arizona," (abstract), Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology v. 23 (Supplement ot Number 3):103A.
  • Thompson, M.E., Meldrum, D.J., White, R.S. and Thrasher, L.C., 2004, Camel Tracks and Trackways from Late Pliocene Deposits. The International Camelid Quarterly, March 2004:46..
  • Thompson, M.E. and White, R.S., 2004, Getting over the hump: Blancan records of Camelops from North America, with special reference to Hagerman, Idaho and the 111 Ranch, Arizona. (abstract), Abstracts with Program, Annual Meeting of the Geological Society of America.
  • Morgan, G.S. and White, R.S., 2005, Miocene and Pliocene Vertebrates from Arizona, in Heckert, A.B. and Lucas, S.G., (editors), Vertebrtae Paleontology in Arizona, New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, Bulletin 29, p. 115-136. (pdf file)
  • White, R.S., Morgan, G.S., and Thompson, M.E. (editors), 2005, Pliocene Vertebrate Faunas from Southeastern Arizona and Southwestern New Mexico, October 16 - 18, 2005: Road Log and Guidebook, Mesa Southwest Museum Bulletin 10.
  • Morgan, G.S. and White, R.S., 2005, Pliocene vertebrate faunas from Southeastern Arizona and Southwestern New Mexico: road log", in White, R.S., Morgan, G.S., and Thompson, M.E., (editors), Pliocene Vertebrate Faunas from Southeastern Arizona and Southwestern New Mexico, October 16 - 18, 2005: Road Log and Guidebook, Mesa Southwest Museum Bulletin 10, p. 1-33.
  • White, R.S., 2005, Early explorations for vertebrate fossils near Safford, Arizona, in White, R.S., Morgan, G.S., and Thompson, M.E. (editors), Pliocene Vertebrate Faunas from Southeastern Arizona and Southwestern New Mexico, October 16 - 18, 2005: Road Log and Guidebook, Mesa Southwest Museum Bulletin 10, p. 35-44.
  • White, R.S., Evander, R.A., and Morgan, G.S., 2005, Locality gazetteer, Safford and San Simon Basins, Graham County, Arizona, Duncan Basin, Greenlee County, Arizona and Hidalgo County, New Mexico and Mangas basin, Grant County, New Mexico (Pliocene), in White, R.S., Morgan, G.S., and Thompson, M.E. (editors), Pliocene Vertebrate Faunas from Southeastern Arizona and Southwestern New Mexico, October 16 - 18, 2005: Road Log and Guidebook, Mesa Southwest Museum Bulletin 10, p. 45-53.
  • White, R.S., 2005, Annotated bibliography for the 111 Ranch beds: geology and paleontology, in White, R.S., Morgan, G.S., and Thompson, M.E. (editors), Pliocene Vertebrate Faunas from Southeastern Arizona and Southwestern New Mexico, October 16 - 18, 2005: Road Log and Guidebook, Mesa Southwest Museum Bulletin 10, p. 55-59.
  • White, R.S. and Morgan, G.S., 2005, Arizona Blancan vertebrate faunas in regional perspective, in McCord, R.D. (editor) Arizona Vertebrate Paleontology, Mesa Southwest Museum Bulletin 11, p. 117-138.. (pdf file)
  • McDonald, H.G., White, R.S., Lockley, M.G., and Mustoe, G.E., 2007, An indexed bibliography of Cenozoic vertebrate tracks, in Lucas, S.G. et al., (editors) Cenozoic Tracks, New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, Bulletin 42, p. 275-302. (pdf file)
  • Thompson, M.E., White, R.S. and Morgan, G.S., 2007, Pace versus trot: Can medium speed gait be determined from fossil trackways? in Lucas, S.G. et al., (editors) Cenozoic Tracks, New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, Bulletin 42, p. 309-314. (pdf file)
  • Mead, J.I., White, R.S., Hollenshead, M., Baez, A., and Carpenter, M., 2007, Late Pleistocene Cynomys (Rodentia, Sciuridae, Prairie Dog) from northwestern Sonora, Mexico. (Abstract) Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, Volume 27 (3: Supplement), P. 117A.
  • Mead, J.I., Swift, S.L., White, R.S., McDonald, H.G. and Baez, A., 2007, Late Pleistocene (Rancholabrean) Glyptodont and Pampathere (Xenarthra: Cingulata) from Sonora, Mexico, Revista Mexicana de Ciencias Geológicas, Volume 24(3):439-449. (pdf file)
  • Rincon, A.D., White, R.S. and McDonald, H.G., 2008, Late Pleistocene cingulates (Mammalia:Xenarthra) from Mene de Inciarte tar pits, Sierra de Perija, western Venezuela, Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, Volume 28(1):197-207. (pdf file)
  • White, R.S. 2008. Papago Springs Cave, Pronghorns and Paleontology: The Red Fields of War and the Burden of Proof. Pages 365-374 in S. G. Lucas et al, eds. Neogene Mammals. Bulletin 44, New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science. (pdf file).
  • Rincon, A.D. and White, R.S., 2009, Los Xenarthra Cingulata del Pleistoceno Tardio (Lujanense) de Cerro Mision, Estado Falcon, Venezuela, Boletin de la Sociedad Venezolana de Espeleologia, Volume 41:2-12. (pdf file)
  • Mead, J.I., White, R. S., Baez, A. and Swift, S., 2009, The Northward Extension of Tropical Environments in Sonora, Mexico during the Pleistocene. Ninth North American Paleontological Convention, Abstracts. University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio, June 21-26, 2009: page 295.
  • Hodnett, J. P. and White, R. S., 2009, The first record of a cat (Mammalia, Carnivora, Felidae) from the Clarendonian (Late Miocene) of the Walnut Grove fauna, Milk Creek Formation, Yavapai County, Arizona. Arizona-Nevada Academy of Sciences, Program with Abstracts, April 4, 2009:5
  • White, R.S. and Gillette, D. D., 2009, A reappraisal of the identity, stratigraphic position and age of latest Barstovian (?) mammals from the Graywater Wash locality, Apache County, Arizona. Arizona-Nevada Academy of Sciences, Program with Abstracts, April 4, 2009:5
  • Mead, J. I., White, R.S., Baez, A., Hollenshead, M., Swift, S. and Carpenter, M. C., 2010, Late Pleistocene (Rancholabrean) Cynomys (Rodentia, Sciuridae: prairie dog) from northwestern Sonora, Mexico. Quaternary International, Volume 217:138-142. (pdf file)
  • White, R.S., Mead, J.I., Baez, A., and Swift, S., 2010, Localidades de vertebrados fósiles del Neógeno (Mioceneo, Plioceno y Pleistoceno): Una evaluación preliminar de la biodiversidad del pasado, pages 51-72 in Thomas R. Van Devender and Francisco Molina Freanar (eds), Diversidad Biológica de Sonora, CONABIO, México. (pdf file)
  • White, R. S. and G. S. Morgan, 2011, Capromeryx (Artiodactyla: Antilocapridae) from the Rancholabrean Tramperos Creek Fauna, Union County, New Mexico, with a Review of the Occurrence and Paleobiology of Capromeryx in the Rancholabrean of New Mexico. Pages 641-652 in Sullivan, R. eta al., eds. Fossil Record 3. New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, Bulletin 53. pdf file