LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — The true identity and age of a rare collection of bones discovered during pool construction at a Las Vegas home are becoming more clear as crucial pieces have been unearthed: parts of the jaw and teeth.
Homeowner Matt Perkins and his husband Josh have been on a mission to get to the bottom of the pool paleontology situation and enlisted the help of experts to help determine how significant the fossils could be.
On Thursday, experts were back at the site examining the parts.
“It would be nice if we had a head or a tooth because mammals teeth are really diagnostic," explained Joshua Bonde with the Nevada Science Center.
Bonde says the tooth and parts of the jaw have conclusively revealed the bones belong to an ice age horse, which roamed in the Las Vegas area up to 14,000 years ago.
At this point, the age is only an educated guess based on the types of soils the bones were discovered between.
"That’s kind of the glaring question, exactly how old is this because right now we’re making our age determination based upon the age of the rocks below and above it so it’s kind of a sandwich of a date and it would be nice to have a date on the bones in themselves," explained Bonde.
The United States Geological Survey is interested in learning more about the discovery and Bonde says the government agency is considering using carbon-dating to get an accurate age on the creature.
“I was super shocked at the response that this discovery’s had," said Bonde
The story involving the rare find in the backyard of the newly built Las Vegas home near Buffalo and Grand Teton Drives continues to receive international attention.
“Everyone wants to find a fossil in their backyard, every kid growing up wants to dig in their backyard and find a dinosaur bone," remarked Bonde.
"These guys were digging a pool and we found fossils it wasn’t a dinosaur but it was still something really cool," said Bonde.
Dozens of news organizations have now reported on the find and the scientific community is eager to learn how much the bones can shed on history.
"We started getting phone calls from newspapers, TV stations in San Francisco, New York, someone from the UK and the Daily Mail called us," said Matt Perkins.
"So it's really interesting," added Perkins.
The attention has led to at least one person who showed up, uninvited, at Perkins' property since news reports revealed the discovery.
"Other than that, people have been respectful and curious, the neighborhood loves it," said Perkins.
The next step determines how much of the fossils can be safely removed without damaging their condition or Perkins' newly built home.
Bonde hopes that the bones can be cleaned up, analyzed and then displayed for others to inspect and enjoy.