Chowchilla, Calif. (KSEE) – You’ve heard the saying – one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.
Well, in this case, a landfill led to a Central Valley treasure from pre-historic times.
“We found originally in 1993 the actual tusk of a Columbian mammoth. And that is what started the find of all the fossils at the Fairmead landfill,” said Michel Pecina with the Fossil Discovery Center of Madera County.
The discovery was made by sanitation workers near Highway 99 and Avenue 21 ½ in Madera County.
Since 2010, people from all over California have been making a stop in Chowchilla to see what was uncovered.
As soon as you walk into the Fossil Discovery Center you will notice the giant mammoth.
A fairly massive replica of the Columbian mammoth stands 14-feet tall in the middle of the discovery center.
The actual mammoth fossil that was discovered 150 yards near by is now located on the U.C. Berkeley Campus.
While not as large as the mammoth, the diorama room has fossils from several large creatures in the last Ice Age.
Dire wolves, a Harland ground sloth, a saber-toothed cat and a short-faced bear all called the Central Valley home nearly a million years ago.
The jaw-dropping exhibits have young visitors thinking about their future.
“There are families that do have children that want to be paleontologists, so they often come by because this is a nice thing in the Valley to have,” Pecina said.
If paleontology doesn’t interest you, how about geology?
The museum has a large collection of rocks and minerals discovered from the Ice Age to the 20th century.
You’ll also find artifacts and taxidermy to displays on loan from the Sierra Mono Museum.
Outside is a pond landscaped with plants and trees native to the area before mankind called Madera County home.
For hours and ticket prices for the Fossil Discovery Center checkout: www.maderamammoths.org