Family Berry Picking In Their Yard Finds Huge Mammoth Fossil

A family in Iowa went out behind their home two years ago to pick some berries. As they were foraging for the sweet fruits, one member of the family noticed an unusual shape of something in the ground. He realized it was a massive bone. Now, the family's yard has become an excavation site.

The head of the household, identified as only 'John', says that he and his sons were walking around looking for berries when his son spotted what he thought was a ball. When John approached to take a closer look, he realized that it wasn't a ball, but something white sticking out of the ground. The archeology enthusiast realized it was a part of a bone.

"I got down on my hands and knees on the bank, and I could see a marrow line around the edge of this, and I said, 'Boys, that's a bone. That's a really big bone," John told ABC 5.

The bone was dug out, and John held onto it for a couple of years before bringing it to the University of Iowa for identification. It was confirmed to be the femur bone of a woolly mammoth.

Now, The Museum of Natural History at the University of Iowa have turned the family's yard into an excavation site. They've been unearthing more mammoth fossils since then, including feet bones and thoracic ribs.

Mammoth fossils are not uncommon to find in Iowa, but finding so many bones in the same place that came from the same animal is rare and exciting. The museum's education coordinator explains that the mammoth has been extinct for more than 12,000 years now, which makes it hard to find an intact skeleton.

It's pretty exciting – partially because the mammoth is being discovered where it died," said Sarah Horgen, the coordinator. "We know that because we're finding very large bones right alongside very small bones."

The bones being excavated are currently sitting in the family's living room. He's waiting to see if he can add more bones to the collection.

Many volunteers have come forward and offered to help dig. They predict that by the end of the summer, they'll have the remains of the mammoth's head.

John is contemplating what he'll do with them all. "Build another room off the side of the home and put it together?" he suggested.

John's family is among the few lucky ones who have found ancient fossils on their property. A family in Utah discovered rare remains of an ancient horse in their yard, believed to be a type of ancient Shetland pony. The most curious thing is how the horse got there because it was found buried under where a lake once sat.

A young boy in New Mexico tripped over the remains of a steomatadon, a creature that lived more than 1.2 million years ago. The family began digging around and ended up finding a skull.

In Mississippi, three boys were playing in a yard and discovered a mastodon jawbone.

“I thought it was a log,” said one of the boys to Fox News. “I tried to pick it up and it was really heavy and I saw teeth on it.”

Source: NY Daily News
Photos: You Tube]

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