Las Vegas Fossils

In June 2012, two interesting, somewhat unique fossils were discovered in Las Vegas.  It is said that they belonged to a saber-toothed cat and were unearthed by a team of paleontologists from San Bernardino County Museum, CA. It is believed that the fossils are front leg bones of the cat which existed from 42 million to 11,000 years ago. According to the senior curator of the museum, Kathleen Springer, it is estimated that the fossils are around 15,590 years old.  They had foot-long fangs, a bobbed tail, and a sleek body that was a bit like a large version of today's housecats.

It is believed that this finding is the first ever to be unearthed in Upper Las Vegas Wash – an area of approximately 23,000 acres of land containing fossils from 200,000 years ago.  For over ten years, Springer has been guiding a team that has been examining the wash and assembling fossils there.  She has been doing this within the terms of the contract the museum signed in 2008 with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.  The next step is to continue the study of these bones – those that belong to the only-known saber-toothed cat in the region. It was asked why they hadn’t been dug up in the region until now, but that is probably because in general, there are less predators than prey.   At some point in the future, it is hoped that they will be displayed.