Category Archives: Horses

Fossil Friday – horse molar


As we continue to work on WSC’s collection of Late Pleistocene fossils from Murrieta, it has become clear that, while the collection my be taxonomically diverse, it contains a lot of horse bones! Continue reading


Fossil Friday – horse lunate

We’re continuing our efforts to document an describe the fauna from the Harveston neighborhood of Murrieta, a small but diverse collection that appears to be the only Rancholabrean-Age site in Murrieta. Continue reading

Fossil Friday – horse mandible

We’re continuing our review of our collection of Pleistocene fossils from the Harveston neighborhood of Murrieta, in southwestern Riverside County. This is a diverse fauna with a number of different genera, but it appears that in terms of shear numbers of bones this collection is dominated by horses. Continue reading

Fossil Friday – horse metacarpal


One of the joys of paleontology is that every fossil has a story. Through our understanding of anatomy, geology, ecology, and a host of other field, we can often reveal part of that story, and even a relatively small, nondescript fossil takes on a larger meaning. Continue reading

Fossil Friday – horse skull

Among the large animals recovered during the Diamond Valley Lake excavation, fully 1/5  of the specimens came from horses; only bison bones were more common among the large animals. There are two species of horse represented at DVL. The smaller species, Equus conversidens, is exceptionally rare in the deposit, and nearly all the recovered specimens belong to the larger Equus occidentalis. Reflecting this, there are a number of E. occidentalis skulls in the WSC collections. 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

Fossil Friday-horse skull fragments

IMG_3811 smallVertebrate paleontologists rarely get to examine whole skeletons (really, almost never). Even individual bones or regions such as skulls are usually fragments, often broken in odd ways, and identification can be a challenge. That’s why paleontologists will keep around lots of well-illustrated references, reference collections of modern animal skeletons, and increasingly, 3D images of identified specimens. A lot of identification work is just comparing your unknown specimen to known ones and finding a match. Continue reading

Fossil Friday – horse deciduous premolar

Last summer I posted about a partial horse skull from Diamond Valley Lake that still had its deciduous premolars in place. Of course, if that horse had lived a little longer the deciduous teeth would have fallen out and been replaced with permanent teeth, with the remnant of the shed tooth left behind. Continue reading

Fossil Friday – horse metatarsal

DSCN0630 copyWhile the bulk of the Western Science Center’s paleontology collection comes from Diamond Valley Lake, we have significant collections from other localities. One of the most interesting collections comes from Southern California Edison’s El Casco Substation in northern Riverside County. This material, while probably still Pleistocene, is well over a million years old, about 4 to 6 times older than anything recovered from Diamond Valley Lake. Continue reading

Fossil Friday – partial horse skull

Horses are among the most common large animals in the Diamond Valley Lake fauna, and there are several skulls in various states of preservation in the Western Science Center collection. One of these skulls stands out, however, because of the strange way in which it was preserved. Continue reading