Las Vegas Couple Shocked When Pool Builders Find Bones from Ice Age in Their New Backyard
The workers found the bones while constructing a 6-foot-deep backyard pool near Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument
A Las Vegas couple had their pool plans put on hold after workers discovered bones dating to the last ice age in their backyard, according to local reports.
Matt Perkins and his husband were awakened by police on Monday after a worker found bones about five feet underground where their pool was being installed outside of their home, ABC affiliate KTNV reported.
"We woke up [and] the pool guy said he was going to come to check out the pool," Perkins told the news station. "We assume that was normal, we wake up, [and] he's out front with the police."
The couple, who recently moved to Nevada from Washington, said they were relieved once police and investigators concluded the bones were not from a human. But they were in for yet another surprise when they were told the true significance of the discovery.
"What we found was when they were excavating the backyard pool, [workers] were cutting through ice age layers of sediment and sure enough, they had a skeleton of an animal," Perkins told KTNV.
"It's somewhere between 6,000 and 14,000 years old," explained Joshua Bonde, director of research at the Nevada Science Center, who believes the skeleton is from an ancient horse or large mammal.
In an interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Perkins said the groups were at an impasse over what to do with the bones. Officers wanted to discard them, while pool workers wanted to continue building while leaving them in place.
Perkins told the outlet he and his husband are working with Bonde to see if the bones — which include a portion of the animal's skull and spine — can be excavated from the location.
While Bonde believes the bones could be about 14,000 years old, carbon dating would determine their true age, the Review-Journal reported.
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KTNV reported that Perkins' home is located near Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument, where other rare fossils from the last Ice Age have been discovered.
Bonde said while it's rare for homeowners to find fossils, more will likely be discovered as real estate development increases.
"It's actually surprisingly rare given the amount of development that's happening up there, just because they are so close to the fossil beds," Bonde told the Review-Journal. "But it should become more common as more and more excavations occur."