After a farmer made a chance discovery of a 10,000 year old woolly mammoth while rigging a drain pipe in his soybean field, the prehistoric animal will go on display at the University of Michigan for everyone to see.
The woolly mammoth was discovered by farmer James Bristle. While doing work on his land, he came across some bones he thought could be of the ancient variety. He phoned the University of Michigan, where they were able to recover about 40% of the mammoth’s body. The teeth and tusks of the animal were included in the discovery.
The parts of the animal’s body that were dug out of the ground will be on display at the university’s Natural History Museum, but fans of the mammoth need not yet give up on seeing the whole thing. Experts from the university will be returning to Bristle’s farm this month to see if it is possible to dig up even more remains of the ancient beast.
For the time being, however, museum goers can see the recreations of the bones in 3D imagery and look at them up close on tablets. There will also be a life-size silhouette of the mammoth, which is thought to be a hybrid between a woolly mammoth and Columbian mammoth.
Interestingly, the bones weren’t even buried that deeply into the ground. Bristle found them just ten feet below the surface of the ground while digging for his drainpipe.
“I didn’t realize how big this was going to be, how important it would be to a lot of people. It’s still overwhelming to me. Any inconvenience to us is a small price to pay for what we may learn. Who am I, in the whole scheme of things, to stand in the way of learning more about our past?”
University of Michigan paleontologist Daniel Fisher, said in a statement:
“What’s so interesting about the Bristle site is that there’s a mammoth with evidence of human association at a very early date—well before Clovis times.”
Scientists plan to return to the excavation site on November 5 to scour for more remains.