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ABSTRACT

The purpose of this trip is to visit an internationally famous Quaternary vertebrate paleontology site, Friesenhahn Cave, on the eastern margin of the Edwards Plateau in the heart of the central Texas Hill Country. This site has a very long history of scientific investigations beginning in the early twentieth century and continuing today. The cave has produced the fossil remains of more than 50 vertebrate taxa, including amphibians, reptiles and mammals. However, the abundant remains of an extinct scimitar cat, Homotherium serum, including juvenile individuals along with hundreds of teeth, cranial, and postcranial elements of juvenile mammoths, Mammuthus cf. M. columbi, make it an especially unique site. Our visit to Friesenhahn Cave will focus on its physical setting, cave sediment stratigraphy, potential age and taphonomy as they relate to the adaptations of Homotherium in the late Pleistocene of central Texas and its relationship to its potential prey, juvenile mammoths. We will also discuss recent studies of the cave itself, and its protection for future investigations by Concordia College.

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