Fossil Friday – coyote jaw

The deer bones I talked about a few weeks ago are part of a small assemblage from a housing development in Murrieta, in southwestern Riverside County. Among the other remains in the collection was a partial dentary (lower jaw) from a carnivore. Continue reading

Fossil Friday – Foerstephyllum vacuum colony

Western Science Center has a relatively small collection of invertebrate fossils, but we’ve been working over the last two years to increase our holdings of invertebrate specimens. 
Continue reading

Fossil Friday – deer forelimb

Almost all the species alive today were also around during the Ice Age. While they may have been filling different niches in the much more diverse Pleistocene fauna, their remains are very recognizable.  Continue reading

Fossil Friday – Proboscidean tusk

While the Diamond Valley Lake Project lasted for several years, it was still essentially a salvage operation. As a result, many of the larger specimens have only been partially prepared. Our staff and volunteers are gradually working through the backlog. Continue reading

Fossil Friday – pocket gopher jaw

This week’s Fossil Friday subject is one of the most common Pleistocene vertebrate fossils in the Diamond Valley Lake fauna; the pocket gopher. Continue reading

Fossil Friday – sloth jaw

Yesterday was International Sloth Day (with sloth in this case being a noun, not an adjective)! That’s a nice day to celebrate at Western Science Center, because Diamond Valley Lake is the only locality in California with three different species of ground sloths.  Continue reading

Fossil Friday – horse jaw

While the majority  of Ice Age fossils in Riverside County are from the Diamond Valley Lake excavation, there are a few other productive Pleistocene sites. As with DVL, these have mostly been found during construction projects. The specimen shown above was recovered from The Promenade shopping mall in Temecula. Continue reading

The role of museums

dscn0334Inspired by Brian Switek’s recent article in Aeon, I was reminded of a post I wrote several years ago for “Updates from the Paleontology Lab” about different types of institutions that describe themselves with the term “museum”. What follows is an updated and edited version of that post.

Continue reading

Fossil Friday – Max’s pelvis revisited

Mammut americanumWestern Science Center’s largest mastodon, Max (@MaxMastodon on Twitter) has been getting a lot of attention over the last year. Besides getting CT scans and figuring prominently in the “Mastodons of Unusual Size” project, this October marks 21 years since Max was discovered. Max is also one of the WSC’s major exhibits, and at our recent Science Under the Stars fundraiser we successfully raised funds to add new content to Max’s (and other) displays, discussing some of the new things we’ve learned. Continue reading

Fossil Friday – vole tooth

img_4280The rodent family Cricetidae is a diverse group that includes animals such as muskrats, pack rats, and hamsters. That diversity is reflected in the Diamond Valley Lake deposits, which contain several different cricetids including one of the most common members of the family, the voles. Continue reading