Mastodon Bones Unearthed by Michigan Work Crew Go on Show in Museum

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — A choice of bones belonging to a juvenile mastodon who roamed the woods of Michigan 13,000 years in the past is now on show on the Grand Rapids Public Museum, after employees unearthed it by likelihood final 12 months.

Excited museum officers confirmed off a few of the long-extinct pachyderm’s stays on Thursday, though a lot of the skeleton nonetheless goes by means of the drying course of.

Mastodons might sound much like woolly mammoths, however they have been shorter and stockier — think about a combination between a woolly mammoth and fashionable elephant — and their tusks have been shorter and fewer curved.

The Michigan skeleton was found by Kent County employees digging a drainage ditch about 30 miles north of Grand Rapids. Museum CEO Dale Robertson known as the invention “wonderful.”

“It’s most likely an understatement,” he mentioned throughout a information convention Thursday earlier than officers toured the brand new exhibit.

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It is common to seek out mastodon bones, particularly within the Midwest. However what’s particular about this discovery is that as a lot as 80% of the mastodon’s bones are intact, “which is admittedly, actually spectacular,” mentioned Cory Redman, the museum’s science curator.

“Something over 20 you’re tremendous enthusiastic about, so 75 to 80% is totally implausible,” Redman mentioned.

Sadly, no tusks have been discovered and solely a partial cranium, which is displayed below glass close to a big photograph of the excavation web site. The skeleton was found final August on personal property belonging to the Clapp household, who determined to donate it to the museum.

A choice of the bones, now generally known as the “Clapp Household Mastodon,” will probably be publicly displayed as a part of the museum’s exhibition “Ice Age: Michigan’s Frozen Secrets and techniques,” which opens on Saturday. The exhibit additionally options an array of creatures from the Pleistocene interval. The museum acquired 63 new fossils and casts, permitting guests to the touch actual fossilized bones and enamel.

However the Clapp Household Mastodon is the star of the present.

The juvenile was between 10 and 20 years previous when it died, mentioned Redman, which radiocarbon relationship places at round 13,210 years in the past.

“What makes this specimen distinctive and so thrilling is it is a juvenile. It is a younger animal. Usually, while you discover them, they’re adults. And in addition, the diploma of completeness,” Redman mentioned.

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