Sproul Plaza, circa 9 million B.C.

Fossil discoveries by private paleontologists excavating an area between Oakland and Orinda paint a quite different picture of the East Bay. It seems that 9 to 10 million years, ago, the area was “a warm, wet and flat savanna.”

Now, this isn’t the first time that such discoveries have been made. Excavations in the 1930s and 1960s turned up plenty of other fossils around the site, and UC Berkeley researchers have found fossils from the same era elsewhere.

The different climate of course gave rise to some now unheard-of Bay Area residents.

Camels, three-toed horses, small mastodons with four tusks, rhinoceroses, dogs with jaws like hyenas’, and small antelope-like creatures carved out a niche in the East Bay.

The current project is financed by Caltrans, and is being conducted to excavate a fourth bore of the Caldecott Tunnel. But the fossils will eventually end up in UC Berkeley museums.

Now if you’ll excuse us while we ponder the possibilities of riding camels to class.

Image Source: kevin (iapetus) under Creative Commons
Caldecott Tunnel fourth bore dig unearths fossils from millions of years ago [Mercury News]

Matthew C. Kriner said:
Mar 1, 2011 at 2:10 am

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