While digging in Matthew Perkins’s backyard last week in Las Vegas to build a pool, construction workers made an unexpected discovery: bones buried about five feet deep in the soil.
When the foreman arrived a few days later, he came with officers and crime scene investigators from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. They determined that the bones were too big to be human and told Mr. Perkins he could do whatever he wanted with them.
“That was a huge shock to us,” said Mr. Perkins, 35, who moved to Las Vegas last year with his husband.
He started calling paleontologists, museums and universities about the discovery, but nobody returned his calls. He had no luck until he contacted 8 News Now Las Vegas, which helped connect him with Joshua Bonde, a paleontologist with the Nevada Science Center.
Tule Springs Fossil Beds, near Mr. Perkins’s home, was established by the National Park Service in 2014 and “is rich with significant paleontological resources from the Ice Age, including the Columbian Mammoth, extinct horses, camels and bison, and the dire wolf,” according to its website.
Mr. Bonde said he hoped the discovery would draw more attention to the possibility that others may have fossils in their yards.
“Fossils don’t care about political boundaries,” he said. “These fossils in dirt are scattered all over the valley and people have been developing on this for decades. It’s only a matter of time until more are found.”
Although there will be a slight delay in the construction of the six-foot-deep in-ground pool as the rest of the fossil is excavated over the next few weeks, Mr. Perkins said he was glad he connected with Mr. Bonde.
“I hope this brings attention that great people are willing to work with you and help you in any way they can if you find something like this,” he said. “It can be a big discovery or an amazing story at the end.”