National Park Service

Mojave Desert I&M Network (MOJN)

Inventory & Monitoring at Tule Springs Fossil Beds NM

Tule Springs Fossil Beds NM
Tule Springs National Monument

Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument (TUSK) became a National Monument in December 2014. It is located just north of Las Vegas in the Upper Las Vegas Wash and shares its northern boundary with the Desert National Wildlife Refuge. TUSK was also the site of a major excavation coined the 'Big Dig'. The Big Dig was a paleontological effort in 1962-1963 in which trenches nearly a mile long were dug in hopes of uncovering fossils. This effort was a success -Ice Age (Pleistocene) fossils of dire wolves, ground sloths, camels and even teeth and tusks of mammoths and Giant North American lions were found. It was also one of the first sites to test radiocarbon dating (a brand new technology at that time) to determine the age of fossil findings. To date, tens of thousands of Pleistocene fossils have been discovered within TUSK boundaries, and many portions of the monument have yet to be surveyed. This land is believed to be the greatest record of Ice Age fossils in the world.

TUSK is home to rare and endangered plants and animals including the Las Vegas bearpoppy, Merriam's bearpoppy, Las Vegas buckwheat, and the Desert Tortoise. Because TUSK is a newly established park unit, MOJN will be working closely with the park to determine the vegetation and soils monitoring needs that will best aid and inform TUSK management in the preservation of the natural resources at Tule Springs Fossil Beds NM. As there are no consistent sources of surface water, water monitoring will not be done at TUSK.


List Species Found at Tule Springs Fossil Beds NM

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A Checklist contains only those species that are designated as "present" or "probably present" in the park.

The Full List with Details includes all the Checklist species plus species that are unconfirmed, historically detected, or incorrectly reported in the park. The Full List also contains species that are "in review" because their status in the park hasn't been fully determined. Additional details about the status of each species is included in the Full List.

The Checklist will almost always contain fewer species than the Full List.

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Species Summary from iNaturalist (non-NPS data)

This species list is provided by iNaturalist.org and is not confirmed or endorsed by NPS

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Last Updated: December 30, 2016 Contact Webmaster