Packrat (Neotoma spp.) middens contain abundant and well‐preserved pollen. Pollen analysis complements macrofossil analysis of these biogenic deposits because it reflects both local and regional vegetation patterns. However, variability among and within middens is high, and the accuracy with which midden pollen reflects vegetation is lessened by this variability. The variability results both from midden inhomogeneity and from differences in the relative importance of the four major sources of pollen in middens: the air, plant material collected by the packrat, packrat feces, and the pelt of the packrat. The variability due to midden inhomogeneity is reduced by analyzing aliquots from large (ca 500 g) middens rather than the small (ca 10 g) subsamples used by previous researchers. The comparison of fossil sequences from Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Arizona, and Owl Canyon, Colorado, demonstrates the value of this procedure.
ASJC Scopus subject areas