A Las Vegas, Nevada couple was quite surprised when workers building a new swimming pool at their home dug up a set of bones on April 26, 2021. The bones appear to have been buried in the Las Vegas yard for 14,000 years and date back to the Ice Age. The remains were buried four to five feet underground.
After the bones were found, the Las Vegas homeowners invited paleontologist Joshua Bonde to inspect the bones. Bonde is employed as the research director at the Nevada Science Center. According to Bonde, the bones are the remains of a prehistoric horse. Amongst the bones uncovered are the horse’s right shoulder blade, bones from its front right leg, and some vertebrae. He said the discovery was rare as the bones were still connected the way they would have been when the horse was alive. This means the horse was buried quickly before scavengers could scatter the carcass.
The couple’s Las Vegas home is close to the Ice Age Fossils State Park and the Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument. “Now we have to do actual science to tell how old it is, maybe what species of horse it is. And then where that falls in the greater scheme of the history of Las Vegas and Southern Nevada,” Bonde said.
Researchers at the United States Geological Survey will test the specimen to get a more exact idea of when the horse died. Bond also stated the horse would have lived when the area was a marshy environment and would have been home to mammoths, camels, saber-tooth cats, dire wolves, and other mammals that have since gone extinct.
After the bones are fully dug up, the Las Vegas homeowners plan on loaning them out to the Nevada Science Center or someone else who can study them. They want their find to be preserved and put on display for others to enjoy.
Written by Ebonee Stevenson
Edited by Cathy Milne-Ware
CNN: Ice Age fossil find turns Las Vegas couple’s new pool into a dig site; by David Williams
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Inset Image by H. Zell Courtesy of Wikimedia – Creative Commons License