Las Vegas pool set up reveals bones that date again to ice age

LAS VEGAS – 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 in north Las Vegas.

They looked forward to their new six foot deep pool until the Las Vegas police showed up at their home on Monday.

Rudy Garcia, photojournalist, KTNV

A series of fossils buried about 4 to 5 feet in the back yard of a house in Las Vegas near Buffalo and Grand Teton Drives

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 said.” We assume this was normal, we wake up, he’s in front of the police. “

Police and crime scene investigators determined that the bones did not belong to anyone and the remains were of no concern to law enforcement.

FOSSIL 4.PNG

Rudy Garcia, photojournalist, KTNV

A series of fossils buried about 4 to 5 feet in the back yard of a house in Las Vegas near Buffalo and Grand Teton Drives

“We were joking on Friday when they started digging, ‘Oh great, maybe they’ll find a dinosaur for us and it’ll pay for our pool,” Perkins said. “When they told us they’d found fossils, it was of course more of a shock than we expected.”

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,” said Bonde.

“What we found was when they dug up the backyard pool, they were cutting through layers of glacial sediment, and in fact they had an animal skeleton,” Perkins said.

Joshua Bonde picture 1.jpg

Joshua Bonde, director of research at the Nevada Science Center.

A set of buried bones was discovered in the back yard of a house near Buffalo and Grand Teton Drives, believed to be up to 14,000 years old.

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 migrated 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 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.

Fossil 2.JPG

Joe Bartels, reporter, KTNV

This is a photo of a series of fossils buried approximately 4 to 5 feet in the back yard of a house in Las Vegas near Buffalo and Grand Teton Drives

“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,” Bonde said.

The bone find in the back yard is not far from the Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument, where rare fossils such as mammoths have been unearthed.

“If you’re digging in your yard, it shouldn’t come as a surprise if you hit something,” said Bonde.

Fossil 1.JPG

Joe Bartels, reporter, KTNV

This is a photo of a series of fossils buried approximately 4 to 5 feet in the back yard of a house in Las Vegas near Buffalo and Grand Teton Drives

Now Perkins has to make a decision about the fossils.

“Our bigger concern was that this might be something,” said Perkins. “I would like to find out what it is and save it if we can before we even make it concrete.”

Perkins added that he would like to see if the fossils can add to science and a better understanding of our planet’s history.

“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,” he said.

Bonde points out that laws in the United States are such that discovered fossils belong to the property owner, and in this case Perkins says he will do his best to study how best to preserve the fossil.

This story was originally published by Joe Bartels on Scripps Station KTNV in Las Vegas.