An elementary school youngster rushed up to Blake Bufford, manager of the Fossil Discovery Center of Madera County. In the palm of his hand was a tiny item and the boy asked what it could be. Bufford, a paleontologist with a degree from Fresno State, carefully looked at the pointed object.
“It’s a tooth young man, probably a tooth 100,000 years old,” said Bufford, returning it to the wide-eyed, inquisitive child’s hand.
The center celebrated National Fossil Day, Saturday, with added exhibits, a fossil dig and knowledgeable volunteers to educate the hundreds that visited the center just south of the Fairmead landfill, where the first tusk of a mammoth was discovered locally in 1993. Since that time more than 8,000 fossils have been unearthed and catalogued.
The center is the only one of its kind in the San Joaquin Valley and is visited by 10,000 school kids on field trips each year. However, Saturday, saw people of all ages and from around the Central Valley for the exhibits and programs...