Prehistoric Diet From the Lower Pecos Region of Texas

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The analysis of 38 coprolites provides a unique view of the diet, health, and subsistence of a group of hunter-gatherers of the Chihuahuan Desert region of southwestern Texas. These prehistoric peoples occupied Baker Cave, Val Verde County, at approximately A.D. 900. The analysis is centered on the micro and macroremains recovered from the coprolite samples which were excavated from a latrine area near the front of the limestone rockshelter. From the coprolites, we learned that the diet of the Baker Cave inhabitants included prickly pear cactus, onion bulbs and fiber, fish, and rodents. Pollen analysis of the samples also suggests that the flowers or seeds from plants in the mustard family, sagebrush, and grass were probably eaten as well. The Baker Cave occupants were using what was available in their environment to maintain a relatively stable, healthy population.

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