Monday, October 24, 2011

Mammoth bones found in Pacifica

Updated: 10/24/2011 05:13:12 PM PDT

PACIFICA -- Ian Butler was picking up trash in a cliffside gorge when he saw it: yellow and calcified, not rock or shell, but marrow.

Ian "The Dinosaur Hunter" Butler
"The first thought that came to my mind was 'mammoth,' for some reason," said Butler.

He wasn't hallucinating -- he was right. Butler had stumbled on a tusk segment belonging to a mammoth, the kind that roamed the earth during the Late Pleistocene period, which ended about 11,000 years ago.

Then he found other pieces of bone. Bits of leg; a single mammoth tooth, larger than his own skull. Enough to fill four shoeboxes.

Last Friday he took the bones to Jean DeMouthe, Invertebrate Geology Collections Manager at the California Academy of Sciences. DeMouthe confirmed that the bones, which have extensive water damage, probably belonged to a Columbian mammoth -- a species of mammoth that ranged across the Bay Area until it went extinct at the end of the last ice age.

Back then, the shoreline extended as far as where the Farallon Islands are today.

"It was probably either grassland or a boggy nearshore area," said DeMouthe. "Sea level was a lot lower. This animal was not at the edge of the ocean. The sea shore is way out."

Butler's discovery may be the first mammoth remains ever found in San Mateo County. In 2005, a San Jose man found a well-preserved mammoth skeleton in a drainage ditch near the Guadalupe River. The mammoth, nicknamed Lupe, is now preserved at the University of California, Berkeley Museum of Paleontology.


Submitted by Ian Butler


Anonymous said...

Leave Manny's bones alone.

A Little Leaky said...

It's an Ianosaurus!

Concern citizen said...

If you care for nature . Leave those fossil alone.
Don't disturb them. Now Pacificans have another excuse to go against development. Next time Ian is going to find something at the quarry so that will be the end of that.

Anonymous said...

It's already the end of that. Better hope he doesn't find plover eggs on LMB or a dog with plover feathers in his mouth.

todd bray said...

The existence of a large feed stock animal so close to the quarry and knowing the prehistoric tribal culture that flourished here on the coast does not bode well for the widening EIR archeological assessment.

Anonymous said...

"....does not bode well for the widening EIR...."

Why? Dig far enough down about anywhere and some evidence of former life exists. Now its our turn.

Tectonic Ted said...

Bray, you're not really serious! How many miles has that bone traveled during the seismic events of the past. Jeez, your credibility just went to 0 minus 10!

Dumb and Dumber said...

The fossil is not from the quarry. Think about it...where does Ian roam? (where is he known to plant little seedlings and pick up garbage?)

Kathy Meeh said...

Congratulations on your mammoth find, Ian! Very cool.

Also, of interest to me in the article is that the Farallon Islands "once upon a time" were part of the lower-tide mainland, and that the land existed that far out (now 27 miles from San Francisco). That might also be true of other islands along the western United States coast.