Las Vegas pool set up reveals 14,000-year-old shock
LAS VEGAS (KTNV) – A Las Vegas couple say ongoing pool construction stalled a little after workers dug up a set of bones that turned out to be a rare find.
The bones are said to be up to 14,000 years old and come from the most recent ice age on earth.
Matt Perkins and his husband recently moved from Washington State to a newly built house near Buffalo and Grand Teton Drives.
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They looked forward to their new six foot deep pool until the Las Vegas police showed up at their home on Monday.
During the excavation, the pool builders excavated a number of bones from about four to five feet below the ground.
“We woke up Monday morning [and] The pool guy said he would come to check the pool, “Perkins explained.” We assume this was normal, we wake up, he’s in front of the police. “
Police and investigators at the scene determined that the bones did not belong to anyone and the remains were of no concern to law enforcement.
“We joked on Friday that while they started digging, ‘Oh great, maybe they’ll find a dinosaur for us and it’ll pay for our pool,” Perkins quipped.
“When they told us they found fossils, it was obviously a shock to us than we expected,” added Perkins.
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Joshua Bonde, the Nevada Science Center’s director of research, visited the backyard Tuesday to inspect the discovery.
“It’s somewhere between 6,000 and 14,000 years old,” explained Bonde.
“What we found was when they dug up the backyard pool, they cut through layers of glacial sediment and they actually had an animal skeleton,” Perkins explained.
Bonde says the large bones could belong to a horse or a similar large mammal.
“So this thing is about four to five feet below today’s ground level, so the animal likely wandered around the world in southern Nevada, which wasn’t nearly as populated as it is today,” Bonde said. “There were probably still people in the area and it was probably a bit swampy.”
The area was fed by natural springs and served as a watering hole for wildlife in the arid Mohave Desert about 14,000 years ago.
“This animal appears to be surrounded by partially compacted vegetation, so it likely died on the edge of a spring and likely fell into the spring to preserve it, or some other mechanism buried it very quickly,” added Bonde.
The bone find in the backyard is not far from the Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument, where rare fossils such as mammoths have been unearthed.
Hear from 13 Action News reporter Joe Bartels about this story in the Daily Debrief:
REFERENCE TO TULE SPRING:
“If you are digging in your yard, it should come as no surprise if you hit something when you dig a hole in your yard,” added Bonde.
Now Matt has to make a decision about the fossils.
“Our bigger concern was that this might be something. I would love to find out what it is and preserve it if possible before we just flesh it out,” said Matt, who wants to see if the fossils can add science and a better understanding of the history of our planet.
“I think the further we build in Las Vegas, the more often we will dig this up and find things that are important to our history and what happened here,” said Perkins.
Bonde points out that laws in the United States are such that discovered fossils belong to the property owner, and in this case Matt says he will do his best to study how best to preserve the fossil.
UPDATE: Since our story first aired, homeowners have been saying they found part of a jawbone with teeth attached to it.
They plan to give the bones to Josh Bonde with the Nevada Science Center.