Ice age horse surfaces in outhouse hole

On Sunday, Rolland and Mary Girouard found something strange in the outhouse. The couple had just finished taking the last few buckets of dirt out…

On Sunday, Rolland and Mary Girouard found something strange in the outhouse.

The couple had just finished taking the last few buckets of dirt out of their new 2.5-metre hole.

“The bottom was flat and the wheelbarrow was full,” said Rolland.

“But for some reason I decided to take a couple more scoops of dirt out — make the hole last a little longer.”

There were bones in the second scoop.

It looked like a jawbone, he said.

Rolland got down on his hands and knees and started digging with his fingers.

After unearthing part of a smooth skull and some teeth, he decided to make a few phone calls.

Monday afternoon, three heritage branch employees arrived at Rolland’s Takhini River farm.

“From the depth of the hole, they think it might be an ice-age horse,” said Rolland.

“And it might be about 10,000 to 12,000 years old.”

A pygmy horse dating from this time-period would be a rare find — the first of its kind in Whitehorse.

While there are lots of specimens from 20,000 years ago, the heritage branch has no examples of horses from when the species began dying out, said Rolland.

“This would give them some answers.”

Once the rain stops, the branch plans to extract the animal as a block of sediment.

“It’s all silty clay, and very dry down there,” said Rolland.

“And the bones are very fragile.”

The extraction will leave the Girouards with a much bigger outhouse hole.

“We might end up with a double-seater,” said Rolland with a laugh. (GK)

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