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Fall 2003

Gerald Marino
Susan Connell

Content Outline for The Anza-Borrego Pleistocene Video

Introduction-Setting the Stage

  • Today's AB desert is a harsh, desert badlands environment
  • It holds secrets to the past and gives them up grudgingly through the fossils found there
  • The A-B desert is unique for many reasons
    • It offers a continuous record of life from 6 to 0.5 mya (million years ago)
    • It is one of the largest deposits of fossils on the Pacific Slope of North America
    • Geological processes have deposited layers of sediments now exposed on the surface of today's desert floor. It is possible to walk across the landscape and actually be walking across different periods of time.
    • The fossil record has revealed many spectacular finds only found here.
    • Discoveries have unearthed over 550 different types of plants and animals that existed over the past 6 million years (nobody knows)
  • Paleontologists have made significant discoveries over the past 150 years from the fossils found in the desert as well as by the record of the land-rocks, sand, fault lines, etc.
  • There have been several different epocs of land formation and associated plant life over the past 6 million years- from a marine (ocean) environment to a lush river, lake, forest and savannah to today's desert

What Was the Land and the Life It Supported Like From .5 to 1.5 Million Years Ago?-The Anza-Borrego Pleistocene

  • The land was lush-rivers, lakes, forest and savannah
  • What plants and trees existed? How are they alike or different from today's?
    • Palm trees
    • Grasslands (savannah)
    • Trees
    • River plants-reeds, grasses, etc.
  • Spectacular animals existed in the Pleistocene. What was life like for them? Who were the predators and their prey? What did they eat? What ate them? How are they like or different from plants and animals today? The video will handle each group separately and give answers (what we know) about each as they appear on the landscape.
    • Giant sloths with boney armor
    • Small rabbits-peweelagus
    • Wild dogs-borophogus
    • Bears, horses, camels, mammoths and a variety of savannah, river and lake animals
    • Birds-in fact a bird with the largest wingspan ever to fly over North America (17ft.)-as well as flamingos and other birds
    • Reptiles and amphibians that were only found here and no where else in North America

What Does The Future Hold?

  • Ongoing research reveals new animal and plants-mammoth skulls, etc.
  • We are learning about the great migrations and biotic interchange of animals across land bridges -- North, Central and South America migrations
  • Geologic research is helping us understand how the desert was formed


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© 2003, Susan Connell, Educational Technology Student at San Diego State University