Environment & Science

Riverside will hold on to more prehistoric finds

An example of a saber-tooth tiger skull.
An example of a saber-tooth tiger skull.
Fastily/Wikimedia Commons

Under a previous policy, most archeological finds unearthed in Riverside were turned over to the San Bernardino County Museum; but now Riverside County will hold on to those prehistoric treasures.

Supervisor Jeff Stone spearheaded the general plan amendment dubbed S.A.B.E.R., the Safeguard Artifacts Being Excavated in Riverside County amendment, after more than a thousand sets of prehistoric fossils were uncovered last year by a Southern California Edison crew in Northern Riverside County.

The change was proposed, in part, due to the establishment of the Western Science Center near Hemet, where Stone says most of the fossils will end up.

"I wanted to prioritize the finds in Riverside County to go to the Western Science museum," said Stone, "and make sure we amend our general plan to insure the Western Science Center becomes the beneficiary of some of these important finds."

Stone said keeping local finds is important to future generations of paleontologists — including discoveries like the saber-toothed tiger uncovered during one local excavation. Under his amendment, prehistoric animal and plant fossils discovered on county land will stay within the county. Unearthed Indian artifacts will still be turned over to Inland area tribes.

Any extra fossils will find a home elsewhere.

"If they don’t have a use for the fossils that are found they can donate them to any other institution they feel appropriate," Stone said.