Farmer finds woolly mam­moth bones in a North Amer­i­can soy­bean field

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL -

James Bris­tle and a friend were dig­ging in his soy­bean field when they un­earthed what looked like a bent fence post, caked with mud. In­stead, it was part of a pelvis from an an­cient woolly mam­moth that lived up to 15,000 years ago.

Study of the bones may shed light on when hu­mans ar­rived in the Amer­i­cas, a topic of de­bate among ar­chae­ol­o­gists.

A team of pa­le­on­tol­o­gists from the Univer­sity of Michigan and an ex­ca­va­tor re­cov­ered about 20 per­cent of the an­i­mal’s skele­ton this week in Michigan. Aside from the pelvis, they found the skull and two tusks, along with nu­mer­ous ver­te­brae, ribs and both shoul­der blades.

“We think that hu­mans were here and may have butchered and stashed the meat so that they could come back later for it,” Daniel Fisher, the sci­en­tist who led the dig, said Fri­day.

Three boul­ders the size of bas­ket­balls found next to the re­mains may have been used to an­chor the car­cass in a pond, he said.

Mam­moths and mastodons, another ele­phant-like crea­ture, were com­mon in North Amer­ica be­fore dis­ap­pear­ing around 11,700 years ago. Re­mains of about 300 mastodons and 30 mam­moths have been dis­cov­ered in Michi- gan, Fisher said, although most of the mam­moth finds aren’t as com­plete as the one in Bris­tle’s field.

Bris­tle told the Ann Ar­bor News he bought the prop­erty a cou­ple of months ago. He and his friend were dig­ging to make way for a new nat­u­ral gas line when they found the odd ob­ject.

“When my 5-year-old grand­son came over and saw the pelvis, he just stood there with his jaw wide open and stared. He was in awe,” Bris­tle said.

The bones will be cleaned and ex­am­ined by univer­sity re­searchers for cut marks that would in­di­cate hu­man ac­tiv­ity, Fisher said.

Me­lanie Maxwell/The Ann Ar­bor News via AP

In this photo taken Thurs­day, Oct. 1, a piece of a tusk, lower left, snaps off the end as crews trans­fer the re­mains of a woolly mam­moth from the ground to a trailer for trans­port, as Univer­sity of Michigan pro­fes­sor Dan Fisher and a team of Michigan stu­dents and vol­un­teers work to ex­ca­vate a woolly mam­moth found on a farm near Chelsea, Michigan.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Taiwan

© PressReader. All rights reserved.