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LMUD Presents: This Day in Susanville History – April 6, 1952

Tuesday, April 6th, 2021

Looking across Leavitt Lake from Bass Hill in the late 1930’s -from an Eastman Studios postcard

Bone of Bison Found by Crew
April 6, 1952

What was believed to be the tusk of a mastodon was unearthed recently by a county road crew digging in a gravel pit about two miles west of Standish. However, when scientists at the University of Californian’s department of paleontology examined the relic they found it to be the horn core of an extinct bison, “tremendously more important as scientifically” than a mastodon tusk would have been.

D. E. Savage, assistant professor of paleontology and museum curator, wrote T. W. Ogilvie, county road commission as follows: “The fossil specimen arrived today in excellent condition. To my surprise, it is not a tusk of a mammoth or mastodon at all, but the horn core of a giant-long-horned bison. The technical name of this species is Bison Latifrons, and we have reason to believe that these animals lived in California until only a few thousand years ago.

“The find is tremendously more important scientifically than a mammoth would have been, and we will certainly get up there as soon as the weather permits.

“Skeletal bones have never been found definitely associated with Bison Latifrons, and if you have a complete skeleton it would make quite an addition to the knowledge and paleontological records on these extinct beasts.

“I have enclosed a photo of a skull of a Bison Latiforms placed next to a skull of a living bison; the fossil must have been a third larger than the recent animal.”

The horn core was excavated at a depth of approximately 40 feet, Ogilvie said. It is about five or six inches in diameter.

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