Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Fremont Fossils Find a Permanent Home

Did you know that camels and bison once dominated the Fremont landscape? More than 50 ice age fossil specimens were discovered during the excavation of the articulated concrete box at the Bay Division Pipelines Nos. 3 & 4 (BDPL3&4) project site near Mission Blvd in 2013. The SFPUC donated those fossils to the Children's Natural History Museum in Fremont earlier this month to help students and scientists learn about the area's history.

Ice age fossils found at BDPL3&4 project site in their
new home at the Children's Natural History Museum.

Fossils from two distinct geologic layers were discovered at the site. One is likely the Irvingtonian North American Land Mammal Age, which we’ll talk more about next week. The other is the Rancholabrean North American Land Mammal Age. They add to our understanding of what this area looked like during the last ice age, known as the Pleistocene Epoch, which spans 2.6 million to 11,700 years ago.

Remains of bison, horse, elk, camel, deer, brush rabbit, deer mice, and pocket gophers were found in the soil unit that can be dated to the Rancholabrean North American Land Mammal Age of 11,000 to 240,000 years before present. This area of Fremont could have looked like the Serengeti of today, with grasslands accented by brush and trees.

Artist rendering of what Fremont may have looked like during the
Rancholabrean North American Land Mammal Age.

The museum, located at 4074 Eggers Drive in Fremont, hosts dozens of student field trips each year, and is the only Bay Area museum to regularly display fossils from the Bay Area. We are thrilled to have found such a perfect home for this fascinating paleontological find.

See the story in the San Jose Mercury News.