Did bighorn sheep once roam Fish Creek Range?


Nevada bighorn sheep
Photo credit: Dreamstime

Once upon a time, bighorn sheep roamed the Fish Creek Range, Cave Canyon in Eureka County, Nevada. At least that’s what a recent discovery seems to conclude. The Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) is currently updating their historical records following the discovery of two bighorn sheep ewe carcasses that date back to about 1955, the Eureka Sentinel reports.

The remains, which were found at the bottom of a cave, were carbon dated by Beta Analytic, a radiocarbon dating company based in Miami, Florida. Radiocarbon dating “is a method that provides objective age estimates for carbon-based materials that originated from living organisms” and is used to date archeological and geological findings.

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Researchers also carbon dated mandible and carpal bones found beneath the two ewes. The bones were not necessarily from the same bighorn sheep; both dated back to 1875. This is an amazing discovery as bighorn sheep have never before been documented in the Fish Creek Range, according to the Eureka Sentinel.

Now, armed with the carbon dated samples, NDOW is working with Dr. Marjori Matocq to collect additional DNA of bighorn sheep to compare the samples with the “statewide genetics research project NDOW is funding,” the Eureka Sentinel reports. This project is aimed at finding out more information regarding native bighorn sheep within the Great Basin and northern Mojave Desert.

Stay tuned to goHUNT for further information.


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