Photos show camel fossils unearthed by Apache project

Apache Corp. recently unearthed the fossils of extinct camels and horses during construction of a well pad in western Oklahoma. Now the team of scientists who excavated the site has released photos of the extinct species’ bone material, including a jaw buried millions of years ago.

A machine operator working for Apache struck the fossils in a layer of sandstone and sandy shale about 20 feet underground in the Packsaddle Wildlife Management Area, near the Texas Panhandle border, according to Cojeen Archaeological Services. The scientists estimate that the bones are 4.5 million to 12.5 million years old.

“This is one of those things you might not expect. You don’t associate camels with North America,” Kyle Davies, a fossil preparator with the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum, told The Oklahoman. “And yet, in the fossil record, there is quite a number of camels. It actually shows North America was the origin point for camels and they spread out from here.”

The fossils are expected to go to the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History.