From Ice Cubes to Ice Age

While digging in Matthew Perkins’s backyard this past spring in Las Vegas to build a pool, construction workers made an unexpected discovery: bones buried about five feet deep in the soil.

After Vegas police determined the bones were not a mob hit, Perkins connected with Joshua Bonde, a palaeontologist with the Nevada Science Center.

Bonde inspected the bones and identified a horse’s jaw, shoulder blade, right front leg, and hair. But it’s not the remains of just any horse; it’s a very, very old one.

Relying on the rock below and above the remains, Bonde estimated the bones to be 6,000 to 14,000 years old. Two species of horses are believed to have roamed the area (equus scotti and La Brea), and the bones could be from the Pleistocene or Ice Age, which began 2.6 million years ago and lasted until about 11,700 years ago.

Bonde said he hoped the discovery would draw more attention to the possibility that others may have fossils in their yards.