“We started to dig with our fingers and found ribs,” said Bridger Hill, the homeowner. He with his family was into a landscape project when he found some ancient fossils. The family from Utah could never expect that this lifeless bunch of bones would turn out to be a complete ancient horse fossil.

Only after digging it completely, the family recognized it is the skeleton system a horse. But this wasn’t enough to stun the already shocked family. The horse skeleton was without the head, while every other set of bones were perfect. This made the family seek out for experts to evaluate the situation and, if possible by any means, find the missing head as well.

The Hills were shocked to see that their backyard has turned into a boneyard, contained an ancient creature’s fossil. The expert they called was Rick Hunter, who is a paleontologist at the Museum of Ancient Life at Thanksgiving Point.

Many years before Hill discovered the skeleton in his backyard, This particular Utah family wasn’t the first one to discover an ancient skeleton or something from the time of Ice Age. Many other residents from Utah caught traces of creatures of the Ice Age like Huntington mammoths, saber-toothed cats, a short-faced bear, etc.

“They showed me a photograph of when that first exposure happened, and I knew right then it was not a mammoth,” states Rick Hunter stated in an interview that he was first shown a photograph and knew to what animal that skeleton belongs.

By looking at its hooves and the bones it became too easy for the Hunter to realize it to be an ancient horse. He noticed that the bones had deposited on them from Lake Bonneville, which ultimately points that the horse died 14,000 to 16,000 years ago, in the Late Pleistocene age. Because that was the time, Lake Bonneville took over a big part of Utah. Hunter narrates a theory of how the horse probably may have died.

Seeing the bones were so well preserved, the Hunter didn’t hesitate to assume that the horse was immediately buried before it could start decomposing.

“We don’t know how this horse got there. It’s fun to speculate and say maybe a predator was chasing him along the shoreline, horses can swim, maybe escaped that way and was unable to make it back in.”

The paleontologists are moving forward to find more details about the horse skeleton. In their research, they found some skull pieces and measuring around 10 feet at a distance of 50 feet from the rest of the body, stats that the skull almost destroyed.

As of now, the researchers will study and prepare the specimen and then in the next few years, the skeleton will be placed at the Museum of Ancient Life. Finding unique or antique items in our homes was fun in childhood time. But digging out a whole ancient horse in the backyard, as the Utah family did, is really some extraordinary stuff. Utah, the place where much of the families have excavated fossils, some of which even belong to Ice Age.


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