Woolly Mammoth Bones Discovered In Michigan Soybean Field

Posted: Oct 2 2015, 9:30pm CDT | by , Updated: Oct 4 2015, 7:26pm CDT, in News | Latest Science News

 
Woolly Mammoth Bones Discovered from Michigan Soybean Field
Courtesy of University of Michigan

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The ancient mammoth lived up to 15,000 years ago and belonged to the rarest hybrid between a woolly and Columbian mammoth.

Two local farmers in Michigan were preparing for soybean planting when they recovered something unusual in the field – huge bones of an ancient woolly mammoth. The bones are firmly intact and according to researchers, it was one of the more complete skeletons of a woolly mammoth ever discovered in the state with partial skull, tusks, pelvis and shoulder blades attached to it.

Trent Satterthwaite and James Bristle, both farmers, were on Bristle’s farm in Lima Township and were draining water from the part of the field. When they dug the surface around 8 feet deep, something wood-like started to emerge. It turned out to be a giant animal bone buried millions of years ago. The farmers thought they “found a dinosaur or something.”

They called University of Michigan which sent a team of researchers on the location led by Dan Fisher, a professor at the University of Michigan and the director of the Museum of Paleontology. Local farmers lent all the heavy equipment required for pulling up the fossil.

The mammoth lived up somewhere 10,000 to 15,000 years ago and was in its 40s or 50s when it was possibly killed by the humans.

“We think that humans were here and may have butchered and slashed the meat so that they could come back later for it.” Fisher told Detroit Free Press.

Researchers suggest that it could be Jeffersonian mammoth, which is a rare hybrid between a woolly and a Columbian mammoth. The deposit was about six to seven tons in weight.

The team of researchers and local excavator unearthed 20% of animal’s skeleton this week that consisted of skull, two tusks, several ribs, a set of vertebrate and shoulder blades.

A total of 30 mammoth skeletons have been discovered in Michigan State but this one is among the most extensive deposits ever found. The bones are temporarily stored nearby. They will be dried and cleaned and taken for through examination. The animal could provide new insights into exactly when humans arrived in America and in the state.

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