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Monday, June 20, 2011

Palaentologists in a race against time to uncover huge ice-age treasure trove of fossils...

Palaeontologists are in a race against time to uncover a treasure trove of huge ice age fossils before the site becomes flooded by an expanding reservoir.

Enormous skeletons belonging to woolly mammoths, giant sloths and bison have been discovered in a lake bed in Colorado in what is one of the most significant finds in recent years, the Aspen Times reported.

The ice age animals are believed to have sunk into the muddy lake edge and drowned, with the heavy clay preserving their skeletons perfectly.

But the palaeontologists must have their work completed before July, when the lake bed will be flooded for a new reservoir.

Denver Museum of Nature and Science curator Kirk Johnson said the specimens found at the site were "gorgeous", showing a giant sloth claw to journalists.

"This looks like it fell off a sloth last Tuesday," Dr Johnson said.

"I have no question that if you got too close to one of those sloths, it would immediately rip your face off."

Scientists estimate the bones date from between 50,000 and 150,000 years ago.

Treasure trove of ice-age fossils

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