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'Shiva's Temple', Arizona

Nature volume 140, page 613 (09 October 1937) | Download Citation



DR. HAROLD ANTHONY, leader of the Patterson-American Museum Grand Canyon Expedition, on his return to New York, gave a preliminary account of the results obtained during his four days' stay on September 16–20 on the summit of Shiva's Temple in the Grand Canyon, Arizona (see NATURE, Sept. 25, p. 537). Some seventy-five specimens, it is stated in the report in The Times of September 30, were shot or trapped, and will be forwarded to New York for examination. They include chipmunks, three or four species of mice, cottontail rabbits, rock squirrels, which resemble the common grey squirrel, and pack rats, of which one species may be peculiar to Shiva's Temple. As regards the problem whether isolation has produced any marked changes in appearance and habits, Dr. Anthony is of opinion that the colour of the specimens as a whole is lighter than that of those on the north and south rims of the Canyon, respectively one and a half miles and eight miles away in a straight line ; but confirmation by detailed comparison is awaited. The vegetation, consisting of pines, junipers, shrubs, and cactus, is described as "more arid" than that of the mainland, and the heat as greater. The plateau, it is stated, is evidently visited in winter by cougar, or mountain lion, and coyote. As the report refers to the discovery of many Indian remains in the shape of mounds, ovens and tools, presumably the members of the expedition were not the only visitors to reach the summit since its isolation from the mainland, as was claimed originally, and the expectation of evidence bearing on the high antiquity of man in this region seems doomed to disappointment. Nevertheless, it is to be concluded that the remains are 'early', and any material which affords evidence of cultural or racial succession in the south-western States is of importance, especially in the present state of knowledge. It may be hoped that an opportunity will be found to submit the material in situ to careful and expert examination.

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