Biology & Paleontology
In the process of clearing the water, mud, and clay from the cavern, many interesting archeological, geological, and biological specimens were identified. A unique species of salamander was found in the Lake Room. It has done us the honor of taking Cascade Cavern, as it’s common name. In addition, two kinds of unusual frogs have been identified.
But one of the most spectacular surprises has been the mastodon remains. In clearing additional mud from the front room to widen the passageway several years after the original excavations, a tusk six foot long was uncovered, circled around a rock.. Today there are only a few fragments of it left, due to early souvenir hunters, erosion from flooding and decay. At the time it was discovered, there was flesh and hair around it. The flesh and hair disintegrated as soon as the air contacted them, while the workmen stood and watched. The tusk was broken and so fragile it was decided not to try to move it. Also the dry air would have turned it to chalk. In more recent times a mastodon shinbone appeared deeper in the cave.
In addition, bones of the saber-toothed tiger, the bison, and other more recent animals have been found along with those of man. Indian artifacts, remains of guns, and interesting geological specimens were removed. Some were sent to the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D. C., to the university of Texas in Austin, to St. Mary’s in San Antonio, and to other institutions for study and identification. Many of the items stayed here in the Park. Most of these items were stolen while the Park was closed during World War Two.
The Cave is currently home to several unusual insects and animals including Cliff and Leopard Frogs, Tri-Color Bats, Cave Ground Beetles, Cave Harvestmen, Cave Crickets, and, of course, Cascade Cavern Salamanders.
In addition to the diverse cave biology there is a whole terrain of animal and plant life above the cave on the 105 acre park including Texas Spiny Lizards, White Tail Dear, fox and coyote, and countless Hill Country plant and animal species.