Category Archives: Horses

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

Fossil Friday – horse pelvis

For this week’s Fossil Friday we have the pelvic bones from a horse, collected from the Pleistocene deposits at the east end of Diamond Valley Lake. Continue reading

Fossil Friday – horse thoracic vertebrae


Our Fossil Friday specimen for this week is a pair of Pleistocene horse vertebrae, still in their field jacket. Continue reading

Fossil Friday – horse toe


Some of the most common animals in the Pleistocene deposits around Diamond Valley Lake are horses. While we don’t have any complete individual horse skeleton in the WSC collections, across all our different specimens we probably have just about every bone in the skeleton represented. Shown here is an isolated horse hoof. Continue reading