Sunday, 21 April 2019

Ancient ‘Texas Serengeti’ had rhinos, alligators, 12 kinds of horses

From 1939 to 1941 a federal agency that provided work to millions of Americans during the Great Depression put unemployed Texans to work as fossil-hunters. They dug up tens of thousands of specimens from sites near Beeville, Texas.

For the past 80 years the fossils have been stored at the University of Texas at Austin and virtually forgotten.
The fossil trove of nearly 4,000 specimens represent 50 animal species, all of which roamed the Texas Gulf Coast around 12 million years ago. Among the finds was a new genus of gomphothere, an extinct relative of elephants with a shovel-like lower jaw.
Other fossils include the American alligator and an extinct relative of modern dogs.
A paper describing the fossils and geologic setting was published April 11, 2019, in the journal Palaeontologia Electronica.