Bones of Ice Age bison found in North County - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Bones of Ice Age bison found in North County

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Paleontologists at the San Diego Natural History Museum Monday unveiled the fossilized bones of an Ice Age bison -- bones that turned to stone and then rested in what is now North County for 200,000 years.

Caltrans officials said the bison was uncovered during excavations for the State Route 76 East project at Pala Mesa, near Bonsall. It is the first fossilized bison found in Southern California, according to experts at Caltrans and the San Diego Natural History Museum at Balboa Park.

Caltrans District Director Laurie Berman told CBS 8 it's always exciting to build a road for people to use, but such discoveries make it even better.

The bison has been moved from North County to the museum, where paleontologists are carefully cleaning sediment from the bones, Caltrans officials said. The state agency usually hires scientists to watch large construction sites for important geologic or anthropological finds.

Museum Curator of Paleontology Tom Demere said the bones are mostly from the back end of the animal, like the hips, vertebrae and lower part of the back.

"We don't have the upper part of the back -- we don't have the shoulders, we don't have the neck, we have the head, but not the lower jaws, we don't have the legs," Demere said. "It suggests that this animal was scavenged."

The animal died, maybe was killed, and "all the good stuff" was taken, he said.

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