Category Archives: Camels

Fossil Friday – Camelops vertebra

IMG_8956 (1)I’m endlessly fascinated by the strange skeleton of the western camel, Camelops hesternus. Camelops was a massive animal, and many of its bones were so large they can easily be mistaken for those from a bison. Yet other parts of the skeleton are almost delicate. Continue reading

Fossil Friday – Camelops jaw

This may look a bit like a zombie hand reaching from the grave in some B-horror movie (at least it does to me). In fact, it’s a fossil that’s quite a bit more interesting and less dangerous than a zombie hand.

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Fossil Friday – Joshua Tree mammal bone


The Diamond Valley collection housed at WSC is an extremely rich record of Ice Age life in southern California, but it is far from the only Pleistocene site represented in the museum’s collections.

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Fossil Friday – Camelops tooth


Today’s Fossil Friday specimen comes from the Pleistocene camel Camelops hesternus, a taxon we’ve featured several times on this blog. But this specimen is special because of where it was found – in Joshua Tree National Park. Continue reading

Fossil Friday – camel tooth

IMG_2467Every day on my way to work, I drive past a farm that among its denizens counts several camels. Apart from the fun of seeing these large, strange mammals, they also serve as a reminder that wild camels once roamed across North America, until their extinction around 12,000 years ago.

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Fossil Friday – camel elbow

IMG_6264We’re continuing our focus on Pleistocene fossils from Murrieta, California this week with a single bone fragment that has a lot going on. Continue reading

Fossil Friday – camel vertebra

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.

Fossil Friday – camel lumbar vertebra

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

Fossil Friday-camel humerus


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

Fossil Friday – wildfires

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