November 7, 2011
Prehistoric Pig Remains Found At Texas Excavation Site
Construction workers excavating the site of a new high-explosive pressing facility in Amarillo, Texas, discovered the remains of an extinct, prehistoric pig.
According to Bobby Cervantes of the Amarillo Globe-News, workers at the Pantex Plant discovered the fragmented remains embedded approximately eight feet down in the walls of the site after returning to the location one morning.
"If we´d have taken another bucket of dirt out of the wall of that pit, we´d have never known they (the bones) were there," Project Contractor Don Lankford said. "The next morning, the light was hitting the bones just right, and one of the workers spotted them."
Lankford told Cervantes that the large excavator bucket used by the crew would have definitely destroyed the bone fragments had it taken another chunk out of the wall.
An Associated Press (AP) report notes that "Dr. Gerald Schultz, a geology professor at West Texas A&M University in nearby Canyon, identified the bones as belonging to a Platygonus, an extinct prehistoric pig related to a modern javelina. The professor says Platygonus became extinct at least 11,000 years ago, but the bones could be as old as 23 million years old."
B&W Pantex spokesman Bill Cunningham told the Amarillo Globe-News that Plant historian Monica Graham, a wildlife biologist, and a geologist worked together to excavate the bones.
Reporter Eric Ross of Amarillo television station NewsChannel 10 said that the discovery was "a big find“¦ this could only be the second time a peccary fossil has been discovered in our area."
Ross added that Pantex told the station that Pantex was "looking into the possibility of displaying them at the Panhandle Plains Museum," which is located on the West Texas A&M University campus. Graham told the television station that pictures would be sent to the museum, and for the time being, the fossils would be preserved at Pantex.
Image Caption: Platygonus leptorhinus reconstruction at Harvard University. Credit: David Starner/Wikipedia (CC BY 3.0)
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