Ice Age Site Yields 4,517 Bones from 20 Different Animals

Fossil excavation at the Ice Age site near Snowmass Village wraps up on schedule this weekend, after crews from the Denver Museum of Nature & Science raced this spring to unearth more than 4,500 fossils and identify 20 different vertebrate animals from the site.

The growing list of Ice Age animals includes seven large mammals:

  • mastodon
  • mammoth
  • bison
  • deer
  • horse
  • sloth
  • camel

Plus 13 types of smaller animals:

  • otter
  • muskrat
  • beaver
  • chipmunk
  • bat
  • rabbit
  • mouse
  • salamander
  • frog
  • lizard
  • snake
  • fish
  • bird

"We worked as quickly as possible to pull this treasure trove of fossils from the ground, so our work to identify all of the species we have found will begin in earnest once we have time for further analysis back at the Museum," said Dr. Kirk Johnson, the leader of the excavation team and vice president of the Research and Collections Division at the Museum. "I predict we have found 30 or 40 different animal species and many plant species at this incredibly well-preserved site.  Our work to really understand these findings and maximize the site's scientific value is just beginning."

The full crew of Museum staff and volunteers will work through Friday, July 1, and the majority of the team will return to Denver the following day. Construction on the reservoir resumes as planned early next week and Museum representatives will remain onsite to assist if additional fossils are located while construction crews work there. The Museum's three top scientists on the project will remain in Snowmass Village for several more days to support ongoing fundraising and to host a wrap-up press conference next week.

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