Exciting horse fossil discovery in Nevada desert

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By Horse Talk

Scientists excavating an Ice Age mammoth skeleton from the Tule Springs area north of Las Vegas, Nevada, uncovered the remains of a second animal that is causing more excitement than the original find: a skull and lower jaw of an extinct horse species.

Horses are not uncommon in the Tule Springs fossil record, but this one differs from all those discovered there before, according to the San Bernardino County Museum scientists. It has a name. The new fossils belong to the extinct species Equus scotti, a large horse common in much of western North America during the Pleistocene Epoch – the “Ice Ages”.

The species has never before been reported from Tule Springs or Nevada. “You might say we’ve been through the desert on a horse with no name,” jokes Eric Scott, curator of paleontology for the San Bernardino County Museum in Redlands, California, and a specialist in Ice Age horses. “Until now.”

Local volunteers from Las Vegas were instrumental in the discovery. “Our research funding from the Bureau of Land Management includes a strong public outreach component,” explains Kathleen Springer, senior curator of geological sciences for the San Bernardino County Museum and lead scientist for the research program in the upper Las Vegas Wash.

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