Monday, 16 May 2016

Ancient 14,000-year-old bison remains discovered at Florida excavation site

MAY 13, 2016

by Chuck Bednar

Archaeologists working at one of the oldest sites in North America believe they have unearthed the remains of an ancient, now extinct species of bison that could be between 13,000 and 14,000 years old, officials at Florida Atlantic University revealed Wednesday in a statement.

The announcement of the discovery, which was made earlier this year at the Old Vero Man Site in Vero Beach, Florida, came just days after the creature’s modern relatives were designated the official national mammal of the United States. The specimen was discovered beneath a layer of rock the research believe contained material dating back to the Pleistocene period.

A team of researchers from FAU’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute discovered the bones just 10 feet beneath the surface. Using an upper molar, they identified the newfound creature as a member the species Bison antiquus, a direct ancestor of the American bison that had larger horns and bones than its modern-day counterpart, and was roughly 15 to 25 percent bigger overall.

“This finding is especially significant because of the meticulous documentation that has been involved,” explained Dr. James M. Adovasio, principal investigator on the study. “Along with the fact that bones like this have never been found on land as part of a calculated archaeological effort. Others like this have all been found underwater, in sinkholes or streams.”

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