Nuts of limber pine (Pinus flexilis) from Early Holocene strata in Danger Cave, Utah, are distinguishable by seed-coat sculpturing from pine nuts of single-needled pinyon (Pinus monophylla), which occur in strata dating <7000 years BP. Owls and other taphonomic agents may deposit pine nuts in archaeological sites, but the morphology of the pine nuts in Danger Cave strongly indicate they were deposited by human foragers who brought small quantities with them for food for at least the last 7500 years. Large-scale transport of pine nuts to Danger Cave from distant hinterlands is unlikely, however. The seamless transition from limber pine to pinyon pine nuts in the Danger Cave record suggests that foragers who had utilized limber pine as a food resource easily switched to using pinyon pine nuts when pinyon pine migrated into the region at the close of the Early Holocene.
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Pine nut use in the Early Holocene and beyond: The danger cave archaeobotanical record