Story at a glance

  • Las Vegas homeowners discovered fossils in their backyard while having a pool installed.
  • A local expert estimated that the bones could be up to 14,000 years old.
  • As property owners, the couple have rights over the fossils but are planning to donate them to science.

When Matt Perkins and his husband moved from Washington state to Las Vegas, finding bones potentially dating back to the Ice Age weren't quite on their bingo card — they just wanted a pool. 

“Monday morning we woke up [and] the pool guy said he was going to come to check out the pool," Perkins told KTNV. "We assume that was normal, we wake up he’s out front with the police."


READ MORE STORIES FROM CHANGING AMERICA

25,000 BARRELS OF TOXIC DDT FOUND DUMPED IN OCEAN OFF CALIFORNIA

‘I’M NOT YOUR FOOD’ JOGGER TELLS BEAR TO TALK HIS WAY OUT OF ATTACK

WHEN BOBCAT ATTACKS, HUSBAND SAVES HIS WIFE’S LIFE

750 MILLION OF THE FIRST GENETICALLY MODIFIED MOSQUITOES TO BE RELEASED IN FLORIDA


Joshua Bonde, the director of research of the Nevada Science Center, estimated the bones were between 6,000 and 14,000 years old and could belong to a horse or other large mammal that lived in the Mohave desert at the time. The bones appeared to be surrounded by partially compacted vegetation, he said, speculating that it could have died on the edge of a spring and fallen in, leading the bones to be preserved. 

“So this thing is about four to five feet below the present ground surface and so the animal was probably wandering around the world in Southern Nevada, which was not nearly as populated as it is today," Bonde told KTNV. "There were probably still people in the area and was probably a little bit marshy."


America is changing faster than ever! Add Changing America to your Facebook or Twitter feed to stay on top of the news.


Perhaps it shouldn't have been such a surprise — their home isn't far from Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument, where such fossils have been found before, and Bonde told KTNV that neighbors in the Las Vegas Valley shouldn’t be surprised to make similar discoveries. 

“We had joked on Friday that while they started digging, ‘Oh great maybe they will find a dinosaur for us and it will pay for our pool," Perkins told KTNV.

Technically, according to U.S. laws and precedents, the fossils belong to the property owner, but while they could make a profit, the couple told KTNV that they planned to turn the bones over to the Nevada Science Center. 

"Our bigger concern was this might be something. I’d love to find out what it is and preserve it if we can before we just go to concrete it up," Perkins told KTNV.


READ MORE STORIES FROM CHANGING AMERICA

FIRST CAMERA EVER PUT ON A WILD WOLF REVEALS SECRETS OF DAILY LIFE

JAPAN WILL START POURING TONS OF TREATED RADIOACTIVE WATER FROM FUKUSHIMA NUCLEAR PLANT INTO THE SEA

NEW REPORT SAYS ORCAS, SALMON AND BLACK BEARS AT GRAVE RISK AS AMERICA’S RIVERS IN HISTORICALLY BAD SHAPE

WESTERN STATES ON VERGE OF WORST DROUGHT IN MODERN HISTORY

ALASKAN GLACIER HAS STARTED MOVING 50 TO 100 TIMES FASTER THAN NORMAL, SCIENTISTS SAY


 

Published on Apr 29, 2021