A family from Utah was working on a landscape project when they discovered some fossils. Little did they know that it would turn out to be a whole ancient horse skeleton? Bridger Hill, the homeowner was later interviewed and said that they “started to dig with our fingertips and found ribs.”
After digging the whole skeleton, the family realized it belonged to a horse. The bones’ condition was perfect, but there was one important thing missing: the head. That’s when the family called the experts to assess the situation and, hopefully, find the head too.
They called Rick Hunter, who is a paleontologist at the Museum of Ancient Life at Thanksgiving Point.
Many years before Hill discovered the skeleton in his backyard, other residents from Utah discovered traces of Ice Age creatures like Huntington mammoths, saber-toothed cats, and even a short-faced bear. But the Hills were shocked to see that their backyard also contained an ancient creature.
The Skeleton Dates Back to 14,000 – 16,000
Rick Hunter stated in an interview with the media that he saw a photograph and knew what he was looking at:
“They showed me a photograph of when that first exposure happened, and I knew right then it was not a mammoth.”
Looking at its hooves and the bones, Hunter realized it’s an ancient horse. The bones had sediments on them from Lake Bonneville, meaning the horse died 14,000 to 16,000 years ago, in the Late Pleistocene age. At that time, Lake Bonneville covered a big part of Utah. Hunter explains a theory of how the horse probably died:
“We don’t know how this horse got there. It’s fun to speculate and say maybe a predator was chasing him along the shoreline, horses can swim, maybe [it] escaped that way and was unable to make it back in.”
The Ancient Horse Will Be Displayed at the Museum of Ancient Life
Because the bones were so well preserved, Hunter believed that the horse was immediately buried, before decomposing.
The paleontologists are working to find more details about the horse. So far, there were some skull fragments and they found 10 feet at a distance of 50 feet from the rest of the body, meaning that the skull was somehow destroyed.
At the moment, scientists are preparing the specimen and in the next few years they will study and then display the skeleton at the Museum of Ancient Life
Rex Austinwas born and raised in Thunder Bay Ontario on the shores of Lake Superior. Apart from running his own podcast (Ice Fishing And Other “Cool” Things), he spends his time canoeing and backpacking in Northern Ontario.. As a journalist Rex has published stories for Global News (Thunder Bay) we well as Buzz Feed and Joystiq. As a contributor to Great Lakes Ledger, Rex most covers science and health stories. Contact Rexhere