Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 10, Number 2, July, 2000 Page: 84
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Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal
Antilocaprids (Capromeryx sp.) of the Ice Age belong to a long line of spec-
tacular hoofed animals. The pronghorn of our western grasslands is the only survivor. Fossil
specimens have been identified from excavated bones in Harris, Kenedy, and San Patricio
counties and central Texas.
Prehistoric bisons (Bison sp.), if they existed in large herds like their more
recent counterparts, must have been conspicuous on the prairies of the Colorado County
area. Not only were these beasts larger than presently living species, but at least one, Bison
latifrons, had a spectacular spread of massive horns measuring as much as ten feet across.
Naturally one might wonder how this "long-horned" bovid could invade or even cross through
timbered areas without becoming entangled in woody vegetation. Prairie Edge Museum in
Eagle Lake exhibits a fine specimen of this regal bison's skull with most of its heavy, bony
horn cores (the keratinous covering having been lost in the process of fossilization) extend-
ing dramatically to each side. This specimen was excavated in Colorado County, from the
bank of the Colorado River near Nada on February 30, 1988, by L. J. Schilling and Mark
Wied of Garwood." Fossilized bones of another species with shorter horns, Bison antiquus,
have been unearthed in Kenedy and San Patricio counties and in central Texas.
Mammalian Order PROBOSCIDEA (Elephants and Allies)
Fossil remains of two kinds of huge elephant-like creatures, collectively called
proboscideans, have been uncovered from Colorado County. When disturbed from their
prehistoric deposit sites, their bones and teeth are large enough to have readily caught the
attention of farmers, road workers, building foundation diggers, gravel extractors, and other
persons engaged in earth moving. Many of these finds remain extant today as unpublicized
"decorative" conversation pieces in offices, store windows, and residences. Occasionally,
however, the discovery of huge proboscidean bones becomes the subject of a newspaper
story. For example, an article in 1883 described the discovery of "a huge specimen of tooth,
which must have belonged to a very large animal of prehistoric times" and a headline in 1932
read "Immense Bone Found In Horton Gravel Pit."'2
The tooth was described as eleven and one half inches long, five and one half
inches wide, and fifteen and one half inches in circumference, and was said to weigh eight
and one half pounds. Probably, it was the tooth of a mammoth. The bone, identified in the
1932 article as a "hip bone," was evidently excavated just south of Columbus and subse-
quently exhibited at Zumwalt's Drug Store in Columbus. The newspaper article noted that
some local "authority" had labelled the object as "Oz Innominatum of Mastedon [sic]
11 Eagle Lake Headlight, March 10, 1988.
12 Colorado Citizen, November 8, 1883; Colorado County Citizen, October 27, 1932.
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Nesbitt Memorial Library. Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 10, Number 2, July, 2000, periodical, July 2000; Columbus, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth151409/m1/20/?q=nesbitt%20memorial%20library%20journal: accessed July 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Nesbitt Memorial Library.