Government of Yukon

April 12, 2013

Yukoners recognized for discoveries of prehistoric bison fossils

WHITEHORSE—Two unexpected and rare discoveries were made by Yukoners when prehistoric bison fossils were unearthed in the Whitehorse area.

“We are pleased to recognize and thank Marcus Deuling and Craig Duncan for reporting their discoveries,” Tourism and Culture Minister Mike Nixon said. “As a result of their actions, these important and rare fossils will be available for all Yukoners to enjoy.”

Government of Yukon and Kwanlin Dün First Nation publicly thanked the individuals for their actions that led to the recovery of two sets of fossils.

“The Fish Lake area of Kwanlin Dün’s Settlement Land is of great significance to Kwanlin Dün and finds of this nature help shed light on ancestral times,” Chief Rick O’Brien said. “I’m pleased to extend Kwanlin Dün’s appreciation to the Deuling family for their diligence in reporting this exciting find.”

Marcus Deuling, son of Jud and Amanda Deuling, made the first discovery April 22, 2012, while skiing at Fish Lake.

Deuling noticed part of a bison skull eroding out of the frozen bank. The Deuling family took photos of the skull and contacted the Yukon Paleontology Program. Due to the frozen conditions, recovery work took place later that summer.

As a result, Kwanlin Dün First Nation Lands officers and Department of Tourism and Culture archaeologists and palaeontologists unearthed a complete bison skull.

Craig Duncan made his fossil discovery April 26, 2012, when he noticed a number of deeply buried bones while trenching as part of a new home construction at the Versluice Meadows in Porter Creek.

Department of Tourism and Culture staff excavated the fossils over a two-day period and recovered a nearly complete bison skeleton buried approximately two meters below the surface.

Radiocarbon dating identified the Fish Lake bison fossil skull at approximately 3,800 years old, and the Versluice Meadows bison fossil bones at approximately 4,700 years old.

By agreement between Government of Yukon and Kwanlin Dün First Nation, the Fish Lake bison skull is currently stored along with the Versluice Meadows bison skeleton in Yukon’s palaeontology fossil collection.

Yukoners can learn about the territory’s ancient natural history by visiting



Matthew Grant
Cabinet Communications
Karen Keeley
Communications, Tourism and Culture
Lael Lund
Kwanlin Dün First Nation

News Release #13-088