MOORPARK, Calif. – The remarkably well-preserved remnants of an estimated half-million-year-old mammoth (search) — including both tusks — were discovered at a new housing development in Southern California.
An onsite paleontologist found the remains, which include 50 percent to 70 percent of the Ice Age creature, as crews cleared away hillsides to prepare for building, Mayor Pro Tem Clint Harper (search) said.
Paleontologist Mark Roeder (search) estimated the mammoth was about 12 feet tall, Harper said. Roeder believed it was not a pygmy or imperial mammoth, but he had not yet determined its exact type, Harper said.
"It's considered a very significant find, and it's a very complete fossil. It's unusual because it was found all the way down near the bedrock," Harper said. "We asked if carbon dating could be used and they said no way, it's too old."
Harper said the first bones were spotted several days ago and a special crew was called in after Roeder found more remnants, including the 6- and 7-foot-long tusks.
"They've been encased in plaster and burlap and removed from the site," Harper said.
Moorpark in Ventura County is about 30 miles west-northwest of downtown Los Angeles.
"The Moorpark mammoth, that's what we'll call it," Harper said.
Other Ice Age creatures have been found in recent years around Southern California, including a mastodon in Simi Valley (search), a mammoth in Oceanside and a pygmy mammoth on the Channel Islands.