Construction workers in California made a surprising discovery of Ice Age fossils earlier this summer, and the discovery is now generating headlines. According to Tech Times, construction workers working on a new housing development in Carlsbad unearthed fossils that date back to the Ice Age. The fossils are at least 50,000 years old, and they might be as old as 200,000 years old.
The workers made the exciting find back in July, and paleontologists are now working at the site to find more fossils and to study the ones already found. Fossils of bison, two mammoths, a turtle, and more have been found in the area, and the paleontologists have more time to study the area. Construction will not start on the housing development until early next year to allow the study of this area just outside San Diego. The first of six neighborhoods will open to residents in late 2016.
John Suster, of Cornerstone Properties in San Diego, revealed to the media what he thought of the find in the Quarry Creek development.
“I said, ‘Take your time, this is kind of cool. It’s just rolling hills, nothing special. I don’t think there’s any way you could have known.”
However, scientists think there is something special about the discovery. Tech Times revealed that, “The fossils — including the bison, only second ever discovered in San Diego County — are from the Pleistocene Epoch, and are between 50,000 and 200,000 years old.”
— NBC Los Angeles (@NBCLA) September 6, 2015
— WBUR’s The Wild Life (@TheWildLifeWBUR) September 6, 2015
Tom Deméré, the San Diego Natural History Museum’s curator of paleontology, spoke more about this find, and he made his excitement about the fossils discovered clear.
“It’s really an exciting project in terms of the geology and paleontology. The fossils have the potential to tell us a great deal about the climate, the environment, (and) the ecology of that time when they were living.”
The bison fossil has generated the most interest. A skull and partial skeleton were found during the excavation of the site. The fossil will remain at the San Diego Natural History Musuem at first, but the fossil will be moved to a permanent location at a later date. This is the second bison fossil found in San Diego County, according to Breitbart News. The first was found at a construction site three years ago.
Two fossils of Columbian mammoths were also discovered at the site. These creatures were 13-feet tall during their lives.
Discoveries of this nature are not rare in California. In fact, it is required that a paleontologist be on site when construction like this is done. As soon as the workers found the fossils in July, work stopped on the project and the scientists took a closer look.
This is not the only discovery making headlines this summer. Last week, Stephanie Leco made news with her discovery of the “jaw bone of a saurichthys.” The fossil she found is small. It is only the size of pinky fingernail. While the bison and mammoth fossils found were at least 50,000 years old, Leco’s discovery dates back 220 million years.
Leco, a photographer and amateur paleontologist, made the discovery in August when she participated in the First Dig for Everyday People in the Petrified Forest. Leco spoke about the discovery with Fox 10 News in Phoenix.
“I wouldn’t expect to run into something like this ever again, I didn’t expect it the first time. It is the jaw bone of a saurichthys, which is a beaked fish that is normally found in the early to mid-Triassic period, where as we were digging in the late Triassic period. The only other evidence of it being in this time period was previously found in China, so this is the first time that it’s being seen in the North America for this time period.”
Leco plans to participate in more digs. She has always found digging and searching for fossils fascinating, but this discovery has only added to her interest. The species of the fish is not known, but the area will be studied further. A full fossil will allow scientists to know if this a new species or one that has been found in the past.
What do you think about these discoveries?
[Photo: Cornerstone Communities Facebook]