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Million-Old Animal Fossils Discovered: 2010
Posted In: Other Exciting News  9/25/10
By: Yona Williams

The plan was to construct a new substation in an dry canyon located southeast of Los Angeles, but the utility company working in the area found something a little out of place. A collection of animal fossils that dates back 1.4 million years have been uncovered. Researchers will be able to learn more about the history of Southern California from this discovery. This article presents more information regarding the dinosaur fossils.

The cache of fossils is well preserved and offers researchers about 1,500 bone fragments to analyze – some of which belong to a giant cat that was the ancestor of the saber-toothed tiger. Other animals found include ground sloths that measured the same size as the grizzly bear of today. Two different kinds of camel species were also detected, as well as more than 1,200 bones belonging to small rodents. A new species of deer, horse and possibly llama may also be uncovered after investigating the bones further.

Ancient animals were not the only highlights of the find. Signs of past plant life have been found. It is now thought that birch, pine, sycamore, marsh reeds and oak trees once populated the land, which is now dry and barely vegetated.

Fossils that represent 35 species have been removed from the site and are planned for an unveiling at the Western Science Center for next year. The bones are significant because they are estimated to be around 1 million years older than the specimens located in the infamous La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles. Because of this, researchers are extremely excited with the scientific possibilities of the find.

Scientists will be able to explore a different era that offers a collection of new and intriguing species. Researchers will learn more about the kinds of mammals that lived in the past and be able to shed light on the evolution of such creatures. One of the factors they will take a look at is the size of the fossils.

The site proves that camels, llamas, horses and deer roamed the earth during prehistoric days – a concept not many people think of when they discuss ancient creatures.

The exact location of the fossils is the San Timoteo Canyon, where an ancient river valley is found. This site is around 85 miles southeast of Los Angeles. Today, the region is arid, dusty and surrounded by mountains.

How Did the Fossils Survive?

All of the bones date back to the Irvingtonian period, which dates back 1.8 million to 300,000 years ago. Paleontologists believe the muddy conditions of the lake bed or marsh contributed to the preservation of the skeletons. The animals may have come to the water for a drink and became trapped. Some of the animals stuck in the canyon may have become the prey of others or simply died because they could not shake free of the mud.



 

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