Virginia Lucas, (left) and Claira Ralston (right) at NSMLV

Bones excavated from Cathedral Gorge in 2010 were originally thought to be bison, however on closer inspection they were found to be domestic cow with evidence that there were several different aged cows as well as other animals present.  So, the museum called on colleague Virginia Lucas, archaeologist specializing in animal bone identification (zooarchaeology) at the Lost City Museum and bioarchaeologist Claira Ralston from UNLV’s PhD program to investigate further.  In a matter of hours these two experts determined that there are 4 different incomplete cows: an adult, a young adult (2.5 years or more), a juvenile (1-2.5 years of age), and a probable infant. There are also mule deer, pig, large bird, rabbit, and young bear.
Thanks to their expertize the museum will now have an accurate catalog of this collection for researchers in the future.

Cow foot bones

Photo of original field work