At this location in 1933, quarry workers unearthed a pile of bones from a mammoth. The site became known as "Tule the Baby Mammoth." This discovery led to the Tule Springs expedition, led by paleontologist Fenley Hunter of the American Museum of Natural History. Scientists continued to research the area for decades, hoping to find evidence of early contact between early humans and extinct late ice age animals.
In 1962, scientists from the Nevada State Museum conducted the "Big Dig," creating trenches up to a mile long. During this excavation, scientists discovered an abundance of large animal fossils, such as mammoths, camels, bison, ground sloths, and the Giant North American lion.
It was at this site where scientists first applied the technique of radiocarbon dating in the U.S.
April 20, 1979, Tule Springs was listed on the National Register of Historic Places for its importance in understanding paleoenvironments and for its association with important advances in archeological methods and analysis, including radiocarbon dating.
In 2004, almost 10,000 fossils were removed from the southern portion of the area and curated in the San Bernardino County Museum in California. For years, the museum continued to collect, curate and map fossils as part of a BLM agreement.As of 2010, researchers recorded 436 paleontological sites within approximately two-thirds of the report area. The yet-to-be-studied area may contain the best examples of late Pleistocene fossils in the region.
Last updated: June 13, 2019