San Diego County is once again the home of a rare treasure trove not easily found elsewhere. The second set of fossils in the area was discovered by construction crews in Carlsbad, San Diego early this summer while they were grading a new site for hundreds of houses and apartments just south of California State Route 78. Skeletal remains of ancient turtles, horses, mammoths — plus a prehistoric bison as a bonus — were among those unexpectedly unearthed.
According to Tom Deméré, paleontology curator for the San Diego Natural History Museum, all the fossils found were determined to belong to the Pleistocene Epoch — better known as the Ice Age among regular folks — putting them at anywhere from 50,000 to 200,000 years old. Because fossils have the great potential to yield a lot of useful information about the period they come from, Deméré looks forward to learning more about “the climate, the environment, the ecology of that time” among other things. He’s also excited to gain better understanding of how climates can change by analyzing ancient ecosystems.
As a result of this unforeseen circumstance, construction of housing units on the property has been temporarily halted at the present time. Cornerstone Communities, the developer for the said project, is scheduled to resume work at the start of 2016 after all the fossils have been exhumed. CEO Ure Kretowicz said his company has been cooperating with paleontologists from the start of the project before the discovery was made, and even more so after. For now, excavation is still ongoing until its targeted completion date in November this year.
Project superintendent John Suster has no problems with the postponement of the property development in favor of the fossils. He told the San Diego Union-Tribune that the discovery was “kind of cool” and that scientists involved in it should “take your time.”