SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (CBS4) –  A Utah family’s backyard has turned into a boneyard.

Backyard fossil discovery in Salt Lake City (credit: CBS)

While working on a landscaping project, the Hill family discovered the fossil of an ancient ice age animal.

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“We started to dig with our fingertips and found ribs,” said Bridger Hill, the homeowner.

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(credit: CBS)

Eventually the family would uncovered a nearly-complete skeleton believed to be that of an ancient horse. The bones were almost perfectly preserved, but the head was missing. They called in the experts for a closer look.

(credit: CBS)

“Well, of course it’s from the ice age. It must be about 16,000 years old,” said Rick Hunter, a paleontologist at the Museum of Ancient Life in Lehi, Utah.

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Experts believe the bones belonged to a Shetland pony, but they aren’t sure how it got there. Based on the quality of the bones, they believe it was buried quickly.

(credit: CBS)