September 18, 2009

Student finds prehistoric seal bones

A college student collecting mud samples in Plattsburgh, N.Y., found seal bones dating to prehistoric times, officials said.

The 15 bones found by Jake McAdoo, a State University of New York, SUNY, student, include the tibia, jaw, a tooth and ribs, the college said in a release Thursday.

Seal fossils are a pretty rare find for New York, said Robert Feranec, curator of vertebrate paleontology at the New York State Museum.

McAdoo and his fellow geology students found the bones earlier this month at the site of the former Plattsburgh Air Force Base on Lake Champlain.

The bones date to the Champlain Sea, during the end of the last glacial cycle about 10,000 to 12,000 years ago, Feranec said.

The bones may provide clues to the seal's environment and diet and help scientists learn more about climate change, Feranec said.

The bones are to be carbon dated and then placed in the New York State Museum's permanent collections.