New Species of Camel, Dinosaur Nesting Ground, New Theories on La Brea Tar Pits and Origins of White Shark and Dolphin Presented
LOS ANGELES -- October 19, 1999 -- A team of paleontologists from the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County will announce new scientific discoveries this week at the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology conference in Denver, October 20 - 23. This forum brings scientists from around the world to present theories and research for discussion and debate. Selected topics include:
A Camel in Goat's Disguise: Dr. Dave Whistler, curator of vertebrate paleontology, has uncovered a mass of fossil bones of an entirely new kind of camel in the Southern California desert. This extinct species has mountain goat-like features and dates back two million years. Camel fossils in North America have been collected for more than 180 years and are considered one of the best-known fossil groups, so there has been little expectation of new discoveries. Based upon his research, Whistler believes this new species lived undetected for more than 15 million years in mountainous terrain of western North America. (Illustration available).
Bones of La Brea: The world-famous La Brea Tar Pits are known for their immense quantity and quality of Ice Age fossils. In conjunction with research associates from UCLA and Duke University, Dr. John Harris, chief curator of the Page Museum, has recently examined more than 19,000 large mammal specimens from the current Pit 91 excavation looking for indications of how the deposit was formed. The fossil deposit consists mainly of adult carnivores and juvenile herbivores that were buried rapidly after death. In contrast to traditional interpretation, his research has found that there is surprisingly little evidence that the carnivores had actually been feeding on the trapped herbivores.