Wednesday, November 6, 2013

A Bison Beneath Mission Boulevard

Vertebra bone found at the
construction site.
Paleontologists discovered fossilized bones of multiple species during construction this summer.  In addition to many microfossils (e.g. birds, fish, clams, and reptiles) several large mammal bones were found, possibly of an extinct type of bison believed to have lived during the Rancholabrean age sometime between 10,000 and 300,000 years ago.  Buffalo, the largest land animals in North America today, are a form of bison.  Because vertebrate remains are very rare these ice age fossils are considered a significant discovery and protected by both state and federal laws and regulations.

Paleontologists have been working at the site alongside construction crews in order to thoroughly evaluate and protect the fossil finds while causing minimal impact on the construction schedule. The team does not expect the discoveries to affect the construction project’s target completion date in late 2014.

Paleontologist Richard Serrano excavating finds.

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