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“Shiva's Temple”, Arizona

Nature volume 140, pages 537538 (25 September 1937) | Download Citation



WIDESPREAD interest has been aroused by the investigation of "Shiva's Temple", in the Grand Canyon, Arizona, U.S.A., which is being explored by the Paterson-American Museum Grand Canyon Expedition, with Dr. Harold Anthony, curator of mammalology in the American Museum of Natural History, as its leader. Shiva's Temple, an isolated cliff of limestone, rises to a height of 1,200 feet above the floor of the Canyon, and is surmounted by a wooded plateau two hundred and seventy-five acres in extent, which is reputed never to have been visited by man since the cliff was separated from the mainland at some time about the close of the Ice Age. It was anticipated that forms of animal life, if any, surviving on the plateau after so lengthy a period of isolation might afford valuable evidence of adaptation and divergence. Dr. Anthony and Mr. Edwin McKee, chief naturalist of the Grand Canyon National Park, with six other members of the expedition, reached the plateau on September 16 after a three hours' climb. Shed antlers of deer were seen, as well as chipmunk, a rabbit and signs of coyote. The first specimens brought to the base camp were a pair of leaf-eared mice. Traps have been set for other animals by Dr. Anthony, who remained on the plateau when other members of the party returned to the base camp. Supplies were dropped from an aeroplane, including water, of which no trace has been found on the plateau. This makes it remarkable that the party should have been much troubled by mosquitoes.

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