Horse Fossils Found in Dixon, New Mexico     

February 19, 2009 turned out to be a very exciting day for some fourth grade girls in Dixon, New Mexico. One of the girls had discovered bone on BLM land behind her house. The girl’s father reported this find to a local geologist who does geologic mapping in the area for the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources. The geologist called Gary Morgan, Curator at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science to report that he thought the reported bone was a fossil horse. Well, all this coordinating lead to a day of “fossil recovery” by Gary Morgan, the geologist, Scott Aby, BLM Archeologist, Paul Williams, the girls and their parents. The group walked the outcrop below the exposed bones and collected any bone “float” coming down the hill. (photo 1)

Then a small excavation was made around the bones and rock matrix creating a small pedestal of rock and bone. (photo 2) Then a plaster jacket was made to surround the fossil bone. Once the jacket was prepared, it was flipped over and taken to museum for preparation and then final curation”. The girls are planning “A night at the Museum” in April where they will see an almost completely prepared three toed horse that roamed New Mexico about 12 million years ago. (photo 3). Since the NMMNHS has a statewide permit for collection of paleontological resources, they were able to collect the specimen from BLM land and preserve the girls find.


 


(Photo 1) A handful of fossil bone collected from the hill slope below the insitu fossil.

(Photo 1) A handful of fossil bone collected from the hill slope below the insitu fossil.

(Photo 2) A small excavation was made around the fossil in the rock matrix.

(Photo 2) A small excavation was made around the fossil in the rock matrix.

(Photo 3) The jacketed fossil being prepared at the NMMNHS shows the skull, including some teeth and limb bones collapsed behind the skull.

(Photo 3) The jacketed fossil being prepared at the NMMNHS shows the skull, including some teeth and limb bones collapsed behind the skull.