Join Curator of Paleontology Eric Scott at the San Bernardino County Museum on Mothers’ Day, Sunday, May 14 at 2:00 p.m. for a special lecture, “Motherlode of the Miocene: the Barstow Fossil Beds.” Take a look at one of southern California’s richest treasure troves: the world-famous Barstow Fossil Beds. The lecture is free with museum admission.
Located north of present-day Barstow, these fossil deposits offer an unparalleled opportunity to discover what the Mojave Desert was like millions of years ago.
The Barstow Fossil Beds are a rich deposit of vertebrate and invertebrate fossils dating back to the middle Miocene Epoch, 16 million–13 million years ago. The site is renowned throughout the world for the abundance and excellent preservation of the fossils found therein, including remains of three-toed horses, numerous camels, giant carnivorous “bear-dogs”, and ancient sabre-toothed cats. In addition to these extinct animals, the Barstow deposits also contain volcanic ashes, laid down episodically over millions of years, which enable scientists to precisely date the rocks containing the fossils.
Scott’s lecture will highlight how, using the fossils and the ash horizons, paleontologists are able to study evolutionary events that took place in ages past. Of these events, one is particularly important: the spread of chaparral and grasslands across the western United States, and the resulting effects this shift had upon plant-eating animals and their predators more than fifteen million years ago.
“So many fossil deposits are snapshots in time,” says Scott, “but the Barstow Fossil Beds are more of a time-lapse film. With so many well-preserved and well-dated fossils spanning so many millions of years, you can see progression and remission, evolution and extinction – all in this one special place. It’s a paleontologist’s dream.”
The San Bernardino County Museum is at the California Street exit from Interstate 10 in Redlands. The museum is open Tuesdays through Sundays and holiday Mondays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $6 (adult), $5 (student or senior), and $4 (child aged 5 to 12). Children under five and Museum Association members are admitted free. Parking is free. For more information, visit www.sbcountymuseum.org.
The San Bernardino County Museum is accessible to persons with disabilities. If assistive listening devices or other auxiliary aids are needed in order to participate in museum exhibits or programs, requests should be made through Museum Visitor Services at least three business days prior to your visit. Visitor Services’ telephone number is 909-307-2669 ext. 229 or (TDD) 909-792-1462.