Sunday, 4 October 2015

Michigan farmer uncovers Mammoth skeleton

OCTOBER 4, 2015
by Susanna Pilny

On Monday, a farmer named James Bristle made a "mammoth" of a find while he was was digging in a soybean field with a friend-- and we don't mean that figuratively. They discovered what they thought was an old wooden fence post—but it actually turned out to be a mammoth rib.

Although they didn’t figure that much out until later, after contacting the University of Michigan and being directed to Professor Dan Fisher, the director of the Museum of Paleontology. The university sent Fisher who confirmed the discovery.

“We get calls once or twice a year about new specimens like this,” Fisher told The Washington Post. However, most of those calls relate to mastodon fossils—to date, only 30 mammoths have been found in Michigan.

A rare discovery
This find was quite unusual. Adding to its peculiarity, Fisher and his team was given only one day to excavate the bones; Bristle had just recently purchased the farm, and was running on a tight schedule thanks to the harvest.

Which means the dig became a mad dash to complete the work all on Thursday.

“We didn’t stop to eat or drink,” Fisher told the Detroit Free Press. “It was a hard, hard day of work, but every bit worth it.”

“We don’t just want to pull the bones and tug everything out of the dirt,” Fisher added. “We want to get the context for how everything was placed at the site.” Context—like where the bones are relative to each other and what layer of sediment they are in—yield mounds of data researchers couldn’t get otherwise.


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