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Trove of animal fossils unearthed in California

Archaeologists have unearthed a veritable trove of animal fossils at a construction site in California. [Thx Christine!]

Excavation at the site has so far revealed what may be California’s oldest example of the saber-toothed cat Smilodon gracilis, a specimen more than a million years older than the Smilodon fatalis from the La Brea tar pits, which carry an array of fossils dating to as recently as 9,000 years ago.

Scientists so far have identified more than 1,450 specimens, including about 250 large vertebrate fossils and more than 1,220 fossils that are rabbit-size or smaller.

“And we’re still counting,” said paleontologist Robert Reynolds of LSA Associates of Riverside, the consulting paleontologists who are handling the dig for Southern California Edison.

Other specimens include llamas, horses and deer and more saber-toothed cats, some rare and others previously unknown. There is one of the earliest examples of a giant ground sloth and many of the fossils are in a remarkably well-preserved state, Reynolds said.

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