Researchers in Southern California are examining a haul of nearly 1500 animal fossils that was unearthed during construction work near Los Angeles.
Reports in Associated Press revealed that bone fragments, including pieces from a giant cat akin to a sabre-toothed tiger, and bones from sloths the size of a grizzly bear, could date back a supposed 1.4 million years.
The well-preserved fossil find, which represents at least 35 species, also includes two types of camels, more than 1200 bones from small rodents, a new species of deer, horse and even a llama, according to the researchers.
This ‘Noah’s ark’ of animal finds also threw up signs of plant life that indicate birch, pine, sycamore, marsh reeds and oak trees once grew in the area that is now dry and sparsely vegetated.
Researchers say the discoveries will fill in blanks about the area’s climate and ecosystem during the Irvingtonian period, which, according to scientific theories, spanned 1.8 million to 300,000 years ago.
The fossils were found in San Timoteo Canyon in a part of the ancient river valley about 85 miles southeast of Los Angeles.