A California man may have accidentally stumbled upon the remains of an ice age bobcat.
Gary Braithwaite, 65, and his son were digging around in the son's backyard in Riverside for what they thought was a meteorite. Instead, they unearthed bones that appear to have belonged to a bobcat, according to The Press Enterprise.
It began when Braithwaite's son was using a homemade dowsing rod to locate his sprinklers.
"He was walking around and found an anomaly, and then he found another," Braithwaite said.
At that point they began to dig, expecting to find a meteorite. The first bones were spotted about 4 feet below the surface.
"It was an absolute bizarre, lucky find," Braithwaite said.
Jess Miller-Camp, a University of California Riverside museum scientist specializing in vertebrate paleontology, is planning to excavate all the bones to determine what they are. While at first she believed they belonged to a bobcat, she later indicated it is more likely to have been a coyote or some other kind of animal related to dogs.
Judging by the soil conditions, she says the animal most likely lived during the Pleistocene epoch, which ended roughly 12,000 years ago.
The Pleistocene epoch began about 1.8 million years ago and is one of the five major documented ice ages, according to Live Science. By the end of the epoch, during which Homo sapiens emerged, humans were inhabiting all corners of the planet.
Meanwhile, more than 75 percent of large ice age animals, including woolly mammoths and saber-toothed tigers, went extinct. The precise reason for the mass extinction remains unknown.