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California Condor Fossil

Terrestrial Fossil
Scientific Name: Gymnogyps californianus

The California condor was found all across North America during the last Ice Age where they scavenged the remains of large animals such as mammoths. When these large animals died out at the end of the Ice Age, the range of the California condor shrank to the Southwest and the Pacific coast where they were still able to find enough carrion to sustain themselves. Today, the California condor is critically endangered. It became extinct in the wild in 1987, but captive breeding efforts boosted their numbers. It has been successfully reintroduced to the wild and a population of condors now live in Grand Canyon National Park. This skull is evidence that these birds also thrived there 11,000 years ago, when the Ice Age was coming to a close.

3D California Condor Fossil—Gymnogyps californianus
Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

A 3D model. This model shows a fossil bird skull with a large beak. The model can be rotated and tilted using a computer interface.

Species: Gymnogyps californianus

Pleistocene subfossil collected from a cave in Grand Canyon National Park.

This fossil skull is in the collections at Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona. Learn about paleontology in the National Park Service: https://www.nps.gov/subjects/fossils/index.htm

Learn more about Grand Canyon National Park’s Centennial: https://www.nps.gov/grca/getinvolved/centennial.htm

Last updated: May 3, 2021