This is a cervical (neck) vertebra of a giant extinct camel called Camelops, which roamed southern California during the Pleistocene Epoch, perhaps less than 50,000 years ago. This particular specimen was discovered in 2002 near Murrieta, and is part of a fauna that also includes horses, mammoths, and giant ground sloths. The view shown here is the right lateral view of the vertebra, showing the ball-shaped structure and large prongs (prezygapophyses) that would have articulated with the next vertebra closer to the head.
While we only have one well-preserved skull of the extinct camel Camelops hesternus from Diamond Valley Lake, we have a large number of post-cranial remains. Continue reading
In spite of the facts that camels are among the more common large animals from Diamond Valley Lake and are intrinsically cool, I’ve somehow managed to get almost halfway through 2016 without featuring them on Fossil Friday. I’ll rectify that today. Continue reading
A large wildfire, called the “Lake Fire“, is currently burning in the San Bernardino National Forest. Even though the fire is about 50 km north of Hemet, smoke from the fire is clearly visible from the Western Science Center.
Wildfires such as this are widespread in Southern California during the su Continue reading
One of the specimens we have on display at the Western Science Center is a cranium and partial vertebral column including the neck of the camel Camelops hesternus. A closer examination of the skull reveals some surprising features. Continue reading
For this week’s Fossil Friday we’ll return to camels, specifically the large extinct camel Camelops hesternus that’s pretty common in Pleistocene deposits in California. Continue reading
I spent today continuing to familiarize myself with Southern California by visiting the Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology, located in Claremont on the campus of The Webb Schools. Once I arrived, Museum Director Don Lofgren, Curator Andy Farke, and Outreach Director Kathy Sanders kindly spent the better part of a day showing me around their museum and discussing museum operations and California paleontology. Continue reading
Last week for Fossil Friday I showed an example of a metapodial of an extinct camel, Camelops hesternus, which was collected about a mile from the museum’s current location. It turns out that the metacarpals weren’t found in isolation. Several other bones were found nearby, including the two large fragments shown above. Continue reading
For Fossil Friday, we have the hand bone (front foot bone) of the western camel, Camelops hesternus, seen here in anterior view (the bottom is to the left). It was collected about a mile from where the museum is now located, and was associated with several other camel bones. Continue reading