Skeleton of 16,000 year old Horse Found in Utah

Skeloton of ancient horse. Photo by Rick Hunter.

When Laura Hill and her husband started a landscaping project, they didn’t think much of the skeleton that was uncovered. Initially, they assumed it was a cow. It was about the size of a Shetland pony and it was missing its head.

Pleistocene Era horse
Pleistocene Era horses died out in North America about 12,000 years ago. A Rich Hunter, a paleontologist from the Museum of Ancient Life, who came to investigate the skeleton suggested the horse may have drowned while fleeing from predators, as its skeleton was found in an area covered by a prehistoric lake — Lake Bonneville.

Luckily, before it was destroyed, she asked a neighbor about it, who happened to be a geology professor at Brigham Young University. He examined the bones and guessed they were a horse from

Horse skeleton
The horse was it was found lying on its left side, with all four legs tucked near its torso. 50 feet from the original site, they found the remains of the skull which had been shattered and moved when the landscaper cleared the land. Photo:Rick Hunter

the Pleistocene Era — it was around this time — 12,000 – 16,000 years ago — that a global cooling event precipitated the extinction of many large mammals. North America was one of the geographic areas hit hardest, and this species of prehistoric horse was one of those that didn’t survive.

Although the bones of the horse had not fossilized yet (they weren’t old enough), the find is considered significant. The skeleton has been removed to the Museum where it will be catalogued, preserved and repaired.

Read more about the discovery.



One thought on “Skeleton of 16,000 year old Horse Found in Utah

  1. The funniest part of the landscape test in Ca is they say “what do you do on a job if you find bones? The answer is call the undertaker. This is on the state test!

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