The First Art Newspaper on the Net Established in 1996 United States Wednesday, April 23, 2014


California Utility Stumbles on 1.4 Million-Year-Old Fossils
While preparing to build a new substation in an arid canyon southeast of Los Angeles, Southern California Edison has stumbled on a trove of animal fossils dating back 1.4 million years that researchers say will fill in blanks in Southern California's history. This undated photo provided by Southern California Edison shows a Saber tooth Fossil found in the area near Riverside, Calif. AP Photo/Southern California Edison.

By: Gillian Flaccus, Associated Press Writer

RIVERSIDE (AP).- A utility company preparing to build a new substation in an arid canyon southeast of Los Angeles has stumbled on a trove of animal fossils dating back 1.4 million years that researchers say will fill in blanks in Southern California's history.

The well-preserved cache contains nearly 1,500 bone fragments, including a giant cat that was the ancestor of the saber-toothed tiger, ground sloths the size of a modern-day grizzly bear, two types of camels and more than 1,200 bones from small rodents. Other finds include a new species of deer, horse and possibly llama, researchers affiliated with the project said.

Workers doing grading for the substation also uncovered signs of plant life that indicate birch, pine, sycamore, marsh reeds and oak trees once grew in the area that is now dry and sparsely vegetated.

The fossils representing 35 species have all been removed from the site and will be on display at the Western Science Center in nearby Hemet starting next year.

The bones are about 1 million years older than those found in the famous La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles, said Rick Greenwood, a microbiologist who also is director of corporate environment health and safety for the utility, Southern California Edison.

"If you step back, this is just a huge find," he said. "Everyone talks about the La Brea Tar Pits, but I think this is going to be much larger in terms of its scientific value to the research community."

Greenwood continued: "Some of the things I personally find fascinating are the prehistoric camels and llamas and horses and deer. I don't think most people even have the concept that those types of animals were roaming around here more than a million years ago."

San Diego Museum of Natural History paleontologist Tom Demere said the fossil trove cannot be directly compared to the La Brea Tar Pits because they contain different species and shed light on different eras. Nevertheless, he said the collection could advance scientists' understanding of life in Southern California 1.4 million years ago.

"We have a fuzzy view of what this time period was like in terms of mammal evolution," Demere said. "A discovery like this — when they're all found together and in a whole range of sizes — could really be an important contribution."

The fossils were found in San Timoteo Canyon in a part of the ancient river valley about 85 miles southeast of Los Angeles. The region is now arid and dusty and shadowed by the San Bernardino Mountains to the north, but it was lush more than a million years ago, said Philippe Lapin, an archaeologist for the utility.

The dig started last fall and wrapped up this summer. Southern California Edison spokeswoman Lauren Bartlett said the substation project is moving forward, with completion expected in mid-2011.

Paleontologists studying the dig site believe so many skeletons were preserved because a muddy lake bed or marsh may have trapped animals that came to drink there. Some animals who became stuck may have fallen prey to others, while some died because they were unable to free themselves.

All the bones have been dated to the Irvingtonian period, which spanned 1.8 million to 300,000 years ago. The bones found in Riverside County were dated by observing the layers of sediment they were found in and fall at about 1.4 million years ago, experts said.

Fossils from this period have been dug up from dozens of sites around California, some more well-preserved than others.

Scientists say the new trove will add important information to what is already known — particularly if it turns out several new species were found.

Researchers discover new species all the time, but uncovering so many from a single excavation site is rare, said paleontologist Jere Lipps of the University of California, Berkeley, who was not part of the find.

"If they really are new species, that strikes me as something that would be pretty important," Lipps said.

Lapin, the scientist supervising the fossils' recovery, said the large number of rodent bones found at the site will also tell paleontologists more about how the environment changed during the era.

Because rodents have shorter life cycles, they evolve more quickly to adapt to changes in climate and food sources. By studying the animals' teeth, scientists can learn more about how their diet was changing as the climate shifted, he said.

Their presence also indicates the area was moist and lush at the time, he said.

"It's going to paint a comprehensive picture of what was going on in the area," Lapin said. "The species that we're finding haven't been found before, or they're very rare, and some of them that we're finding are more complete than what's on record now."

____

Associated Press Writer Alicia Chang in Los Angeles contributed to this report.


Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.



Today's News

September 22, 2010

Culture Minister Frederic Mitterrand Visits New Museum of Modern Art of Lille Métropole

The Pace Gallery Celebrates Its 50th Anniversary with Retrospective Multi-Venue Shows

Botero in LA: New Work by Fernando Botero at Tasende Gallery

Important Work by Gerhard Richter from the Weserburg Museum to Be Offered by Sotheby's

Old Master, Modern & Contemporary Prints Highlight October Auction at Bonhams

Exhibition of New Sculptures by Franz West at Gagosian in Rome

Amazing Horned Dinosaurs Unearthed on "Lost Continent"

An Exhibition of Works on Paper by 8 Contemporary Artists at Jill Newhouse

Ashmolean Receives 1 Million Visitors to the New Museum Since It Reopened

Major Guillermo Kuitca Retrospective Opens Sperone Westwater's New Building

Stockholm Based Artist Cecilia Edefalk Exhibits at Gladstone Gallery

New York's Frick Museum Director, Anne L. Poulet, to Retire Next Year

Sale of Exploration and Travel Including the Polar Sale at Christie's Achieves $2,590,380

National Portrait Gallery Unveils a "Gothic" Portrait of Isabella Blow

1790 Census to Highlight Bi-Coastal Fine Books and Manuscripts Auction in October

Christie's to Host an Exciting Series of Auctions, Exhibitions and Events During "Frieze Week"

California Utility Stumbles on 1.4 Million-Year-Old Fossils

Archaeologists in Israel Say Apollo Discovery Tells a New Story

Exhibition at Yale Center for British Art Highlights Major Works by Abstract Painters

Tampa Museum of Art Opens "The American Impressionists in the Garden"

Trompe L'oeil Master John Haberle on View at the Portland Museum of Art

Sotheby's Launches Retail Wine Business in Manhattan

Archaeologists In Israel Find Theater Box at Herod's Palace

Turner Prize-Winning Artist Mark Wallinger Protests Arts Cuts with New Work

Phillips de Pury & Co. Presents the First UK Solo Exhibition of Japanese Design Studio, Nendo

Lehman Eyes $10 Million at Sotheby's Modern Art Auction

Fine Selection of Photographic Images Announced at Sotheby's

Museum Announces Appointment of Alice Beamesderfer as Deputy Director

Reina Sofia Museum Opens an Exhibition of Art by Hans-Peter Feldmann

Exhibit in North Carolina Shows the Real George Washington

Guernsey's Adds Princess Diana's Swan Lake Suite to Iconic Objects Auction

Most Popular Last Seven Days



1.- 'World's oldest message in a bottle', tossed in sea 101 years ago, reaches granddaughter

2.- East-West/West-East: Qatar unveils desert sculpture by American artist Richard Serra

3.- Ming-era 'chicken cup' sells for $36.05 million breaking record for Chinese porcelain

4.- United States pastor Kevin Sutherland convicted over Damien Hirst fake paintings

5.- Major exhibition at Pinacothèque de Paris explores the myth of Cleopatra

6.- Fondation Vincent van Gogh Arles opens with inaugural exhibition "Van Gogh Live!"

7.- Landmark exhibition opens in New York exploring the ancient kingdoms of Southeast Asia

8.- Palm-sized scroll that mentions Jesus's wife is ancient: Harvard Theological Review

9.- Hitler's wife Eva Braun may have had Jewish ancestry: British television documentary

10.- Bonhams to sell Madame de Pompadour's favourite porcelain which surfaced in Devon after 350 years



Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .

 

Founder:
Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Rmz. - Marketing: Carla Gutiérrez
Special Contributor: Liz Gangemi - Special Advisor: Carlos Amador
Contributing Editor: Carolina Farias

Royalville Communications, Inc
produces:

ignaciovillarreal.org theavemaria.org juncodelavega.org facundocabral-elfinal.org
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
Hommage
to a Mexican poet.
Hommage
       

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site