ICON’s Associate Principal Troy Carmann and family make a 64 million year old discovery… fossils in their sandbox! While digging a sand box in their back yard, Troy Carmann and sons found 64 million year old fossils.
When Grant pointed out the fossils, Troy at first didn’t believe what was so obvious to his young son. “I just thought, yeah fossils, it was so hot and the ground was getting so hard to dig, I went ahead and got the electric jack hammer out.” Troy has seen many excavations as a result of his design work in drainage and flood control, but never thought that his own backyard could literally contain a treasure trove of the earth’s history.
Luckily, another ICON engineer, Aaron Bousselot and his wife Jen showed up with beer and the sand box excavation slowed down. Jen has a PhD in Horticulture and formerly served as the Douglas County extenion agent. Jen knows her plants! She and Aaron quickly recognized that the bedrock Troy was trying to blast through just might contain something significant.
At Aaron’s and Jen’s urging, Troy brought a small sampling of the fossils into ICON’s office to show off the hard work from his backyard. Troy knew that the person that would be the most interested would be ICON’s President, Penn Gildersleeve. According to Troy, he figured that Penn is the closest thing ICON has to being an actual fossil himself! In reality, Penn is somewhat of an amateur paleontologist. When he was much younger, he worked several summers on excavations in both archaeology and paleontology through a museum associated with Idaho State University. He is currently taking certification classes in Paleontology from the Denver Museum of Nature and Science (DMNS).
The next day, Penn took the sampling of fossils to the DMNS for further identification. Penn had been studying the geology and ancient land forms of the Castle Rock area in a class he was taking being taught by Bob Raynolds, PhD, research associate with the DMNS Earth Sciences Department. Dr. Raynolds showed the fossils to his associates at the museum, and the importance of what Troy had found was quickly recognized. We were all astounded by the results.
Troy’s backyard find was attributed to the ancient Castle Rock Rain Forest which thrived in the Denver basin right after an asteroid strike near Cancun, Mexico some 64.1 million years ago. It is believed that this asteroid collision likely resulted in, or at least contributed to the extinction of the dinosaurs.