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Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology

Wildlife in the Tropical Forests of Prehistoric California

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Collecting fossils in the Goler Formation

Sixty million years ago, the Mojave Desert of southern California was blanketed by a lush tropical forest. Where desert tortoises and sidewinders now roam, early mammals thrived alongside crocodiles and river turtles on a coastal plain. For decades, fewer than a dozen fragmentary fossils were known. Thanks to hundreds of new specimens uncovered by the Alf Museum, our picture of this ancient world is now much clearer. A scientific paper, just published in the journal American Museum Novitates, details 18 kinds of fossil mammals from this time, three of them completely new to science. These include California’s oldest primate as well as relatives of modern hoofed mammals.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 12 February 2014 10:02

An Ancient Alligator for the Alf Museum

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Lower jaw and reconstructed skull of Leidyosuchus

Ancient Utah was even more infested by crocodilians than thought, thanks to a new discovery announced by the Alf Museum. This 75 million year old partial skeleton turns out to be from an early alligator called Leidyosuchus, which had previously only been known from rocks of a similar age in Alberta. With this find, scientists have identified a whopping six different kinds of ancient crocs living in southern Utah at the same time!

Last Updated on Tuesday, 04 February 2014 06:14

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Alf Museum
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