Destination California: Treasures from pre-historic times at Fossil Discovery Center in the Central Valley

Destination California

You’ve heard the saying – one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

Well, in this case, a landfill led to a Central Valley treasure from pre-historic times.

“We found originally in 1993 the actual tusk of a Columbian mammoth. And that is what started the find of all the fossils at the Fairmead landfill,” said Michel Pecina with the Fossil Discovery Center.

The discovery was made by sanitation workers.

Since 2010, people from all over California have been making a stop in Chowchilla to see what was uncovered.

As soon as you walk in you will notice the giant mammoth.

Now, this is not the actual mammoth that was discovered 150 yards from here, this is a replica of the Columbian mammoth, and it is fairly massive: It stands 14-feet tall.

While not as large as the mammoth, the diorama room has fossils from several large creatures in the last Ice Age.

Dire wolves, a Harland ground sloth, a saber-toothed cat and a short-faced bear all called the Central Valley home nearly a million years ago.

The jaw-dropping exhibits have young visitors thinking about their future.

“There are families that do have children that want to be paleontologists, so they often come by because this is a nice thing in the Valley to have,” Pecina said.

If paleontology doesn’t interest you, how about geology?

The museum has a large collection of rocks and minerals discovered from the Ice Age to the 20th century.

You’ll also find artifacts and taxidermy to displays on loan from the Sierra Mono Museum.

Outside is a pond landscaped with plants and trees native to the area before mankind called Madera County home.

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