Fossil found in Nevada cave holds clues of ancient horse

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A well-preserved horse skull collected more than 86 years ago from a cave near Las Vegas is helping scientists identify a new type of extinct, stilt-legged horse that died out during the last ice age.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported Tuesday that scientists are calling it Haringtonhippus francisci after Richard Harington, an accomplished paleontologist who spent his career studying the ice age fossils of northern Canada and first described the stilt-legged horses in the early 1970s.

A team of researchers led by famed archaeologist Mark Harrington discovered the bone in the 1930s inside the Gypsum Cave east of Las Vegas.

Paleontologist Eric Scott says the fossil was initially mistaken for a modern specimen because it looked so fresh.

It was put away in museum collections, and was not revisited until recently.

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Information from: Las Vegas Review-Journal, http://www.lvrj.com

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