Translate this page
The Ice Age bisonís skull is encased in plaster to protect it during transportation to the San Diego Natural History Museum.
The Ice Age bisonís skull is encased in plaster to protect it during transportation to the San Diego Natural History Museum.
Tom Demere, Ph.D., curator of paleontology at the San Diego Natural History Museum, addresses media regarding the discovery of Ice Age bison remains in Fallbrook.
Tom Demere, Ph.D., curator of paleontology at the San Diego Natural History Museum, addresses media regarding the discovery of Ice Age bison remains i...
San Diego Natural History Museum fossil preparation technician Nikki Anderson works to clear sediment away from the skull of an Ice Age bison found in Fallbrook.
San Diego Natural History Museum fossil preparation technician Nikki Anderson works to clear sediment away from the skull of an Ice Age bison found in...

Ice Age bison remains found in I-15 corridor


Friday, May 17th, 2013
Issue 20, Volume 17.
Lucette Moramarco
Staff Writer


History has knocked on the door of the Interstate 15 corridor and paleontology specialists are working diligently to interpret the message.

Caltrans and the San Diego Natural History Museum (SDNHM) announced May 10 that fossilized remains of an Ice Age bison were found April 10 during grading work conducted as part of the construction of the new Interstate 15/ State Route 76 interchange in the Pala/Fallbrook area.

The museumís curator of paleontology, Tom Demere, PhD, compared the paleontological site to a CSI crime scene, "The spine bones were found in one spot and the skull in another." He surmised that "the bison was scavenged after death. The bones not found (those from the rump, fore limbs and lower jaw) were the fleshy or meatiest areas of the body. Although the complete skull was not found, the find is exciting in that it is the most complete set of bones of a bison found in this region."

Paleontologist Brad Riney noticed the fossilized bones in the area being cleared for the new northbound onramp to Interstate 15 at State Route 76. The fossils consist of a series of upper back, lower back, and sacral vertebrae articulated with the pelvic bones. The skull of the bison was discovered buried about eight feet away. Two days after the find and having been encased with their immediate surrounding sediment in plaster jackets, the fossils were transported to the museum where they are currently being cleaned and readied for study and display.

According to Demere, "The area where the bison was found is part of the ancestral San Luis Rey River Valley, which was heavily forested at that time."

The bison would have measured "about 15 feet from snout to rump besides being about 8 feet tall at the shoulders. It Advertisement
Advertisement for Berry-Bell and Hall Mortuary
[ Berry-Bell and Hall Mortuary ]
was most likely a female due to its size. Bison were sexually dimorphic: the males were larger than the females."

Demere also said the bison lived about the same time as the saber tooth cats, dire wolf, sloth, etc., during the Pleistocene Epoch approximately 200,000 years ago and went extinct about 20,000 years ago. A sample of the fossil will be sent to the United States Geological Survey (USGS) in Denver for radiocarbon dating to pinpoint its precise age.

The details for displaying the bison fossils are still being worked out, experts said. They may be placed in the lobby temporarily but most likely will be available for viewing in the family demo lab, third floor of the museum in approximately a month and a half.

Demere said, "From the find we can learn about the past. It gives a direct window into evolution to help us understand diversity in ecosystems. Organisms reflect the environment in which they live."

Experts at the museum said, "These are the most complete bison fossils ever recovered from San Diego County and represent a new record for the region. The discovery serves to expand our knowledge of the overall distribution of these animals in western North America and provides insight into the ancient ecosystems that characterized our area during the Ice Ages."

Cal Trans District 11 Director Laurie Berman spoke about Cal Transí partnership with the SDNHM and said "over 1,000 important fossils" have been found during roadwork in the county.

When asked if the discovery delayed work on the highway, Berman said the two days (of recovering the fossils) was not a long interruption and the new interchange is on schedule to open in late summer.

Suzanne Moramarco, collections technician at the San Diego Archaeological Center, contributed to this article.


 

1 comments

Comment Profile ImageWilby
Comment #1 | Friday, May 17, 2013 at 11:33 am
If they can get any DNA and create a new hybrid Buffalo. I'm all for it. Imagine how many buffalo burgers that is.

Article Comments are contributed by our readers, and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Valley News staff. The name listed as the author for comments cannot be verified; Comment authors are not guaranteed to be who they claim they are.

 

Add your Comment


Name

Images, Formatting, or HTML is not allowed : plain text only. You may post up to 5 website addresses within your comment.




Disclaimer

The Valley News has tightened its' policy regarding comments.
While we invite you to contribute your opinions and thoughts, we request that you refrain from using vulgar or obscene words and post only comments that directly pertain to the specific topic of the story or article.
Comments that are derogatory in nature have a high likelihood for editing or non-approval if they carry the possibility of being libelous.
The comment system is not intended as a forum for individuals or groups to air personal grievances against other individuals or groups.
Please, no advertising or trolling.
In posting a comment for consideration, users understand that their posts may be edited as necessary to meet system parameters, or the post may not be approved at all. By submitting a comment, you agree to all the rules and guidelines described here.
Most comments are approved or disregarded within one business day.

RSS FeedFacebookTwitter



Advertisement for Crown Hill Pizza





Subscribe


Most Commented


Reach Local Customers



The Valley News The Valley News
760-723-7319 - 1588 S. Mission Rd. Suite 200, Fallbrook CA 92028
All contents copyright ©2014
About Us
Earthquake Information
Business Listings
Contact Us
Letter to the Editor
Report a website error
Sitemap
Online Digital Edition
RSS Feeds
Login