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National Fossil Day Activities at County Museum

10/17/2012 - National Fossil Day Activities at County Museum


News Release                          Date:      October 1, 2012

Contact:                 Jennifer Reynolds, Media Specialist • (909) 307-2669 ext. 278 •

                                Kathleen Springer, Senior Curator • (909) 307-2669 ext. 242 •

For release: Immediately

Event date: Saturday, October 17, 2012

National Fossil Day at the County Museum

The San Bernardino County Museum will celebrate National Fossil Day on Wednesday, October 17, 2012. Museum paleontologists and geologists will showcase recently-discovered fossils from the Tule Springs area north of Las Vegas, Nevada, as well as from Joshua Tree National Park. Museum visitors will be able to get up-close and personal with fossilized remains of extinct mammoths from the Ice Ages. The day-long event, held in the museum’s Hall of Geological Wonders, is free with paid admission.

“Mammoths are the official mascots for National Fossil Day this year,” said Kathleen Springer, the museum’s senior curator of geological sciences, “and mammoths are—quite literally!—a huge proportion of our Museum’s paleontology collections. So we’ll be able to share in the national theme for the day, yet offer County Museum visitors a totally unique and regional experience.”

National Fossil Day is an annual celebration organized by the National Park Service and the American Geological Institute, “to promote public awareness and stewardship of fossils, as well as to foster a greater appreciation of their scientific and educational value.” On October 17, paleontologists and park rangers all over the country will share fossil discoveries and promote the importance of preserving fossils as part of our shared natural heritage.

County Museum scientists are eager to participate, since mammoths have proven to be critical discoveries in multiple ongoing paleontologic investigations. Extensive fieldwork in the upper Las Vegas Wash, north of the City of Las Vegas, Nevada, has produced abundant and well-preserved fossil remains of Columbian mammoths—Mammuthus columbi—that date to the Pleistocene Epoch, or “Ice Ages”. “The Las Vegas area appears to have been ‘Mammoth Central’,” said Springer, “and about half of the 500-plus sites we’ve discovered have mammoth fossils in them.”

The research in the upper Las Vegas Wash, sponsored by a research grant from the Nevada Bureau of Land Management, also resulted in the discovery and excavation of the single largest fossil site known from the Las Vegas region: a quarry yielding the remains of at least three individual mammoths, including both baby and adult animals. “It’s as if the fossil record gave us an early present just in time for National Fossil Day,” says Kathleen.

But Las Vegas was not the only southwestern region that mammoths called home. Ancient Ice Age sediments in Joshua Tree National Park have also yielded remains of these ancient behemoths. “Mammoths are Ice Age animals,” says Kathleen, “and our discovery of mammoths in Joshua Tree confirmed that the majority of the fossils known from there dated to that time.”

“National Fossil Day offers the opportunity to highlight some of our recent successes,” says Kathleen. “We’re excited to be able to share some of these fossils with our guests!”

The San Bernardino County Museum is at the California Street exit from Interstate 10 in Redlands. The museum is open Tuesdays through Sundays from 9 am to 5pm. General admission is $8 (adult), $6 (military or senior), $5 (student), and $4 (child aged 5 to 12). Children under five and Museum Association members are admitted free. Parking is free. For more information, visit The 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.

To learn more about National Fossil Day, visit the National Park Service web site:

To see the County Museum’s efforts in Las Vegas highlighted, visit:



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