Horse skull disappears as researchers unearth gold-rush era skeleton in Yukon - InfoNews

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Horse skull disappears as researchers unearth gold-rush era skeleton in Yukon

June 01, 2016 - 5:59 PM

WHITEHORSE - The skull of a Gold Rush-era horse has been stolen from an excavation site south of Whitehorse, Yukon.

Assistant paleontologist Elizabeth Hall said the horse skeleton was discovered in the Carcross desert Friday when some bones were spotted sticking out of the ground.

Government paleontologists began to investigate on Saturday, but found the horse's skull and parts of the legs had been taken, she said.

Researchers dug down about one metre and were able to recover the rest of the skeleton, which helped them determine the horse was about five years old and pregnant when it died.

The bones are a valuable find, but would be even more valuable if the other parts were returned because the territorial government doesn't yet have a complete modern horse skeleton in the collection of bones they use to compare with other remains to assist with identification, Hall said.

She noted that it is illegal to remove bones from an archeological site, but said the department is interested in having them returned, not prosecuting the individual who took them, as they may have been removed simply out of curiosity and interest.

The skeleton is a rare find, Hall said, because it was largely intact and includes the remains of a fetus.

The leg bones were still attached to the hip sockets and some cartilage was preserved, she said.

Evidence indicates the remains are not prehistoric, but from the Gold Rush period in the late 1890s.

Hall said the bones will likely be carbon dated to get a better idea of how old they are. (CKRW, Whitehorse Star)

News from © The Canadian Press, 2016
The Canadian Press

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