A Michigan Farmer Digging In A Soy Field Discovers Woolly Mammoth Bones

October 2, 2015

A farmer in Chelsea, Michigan, made a startling discovery Monday night: bones of a woolly mammoth possibly butchered by early human hunters thousands of years ago.

farmer finds woolly mammoth bones
Photo: Melanie Maxwell | The Ann Arbor News

James Bristle and a friend were digging in a soy field to create a lift station for a new natural gas line when they came up with something very out of the ordinary.

farmer finds woolly mammoth bones
Photo: Melanie Maxwell | The Ann Arbor News

"We knew it was something that was out of the norm," Bristle said. "My grandson came over to look at it, he's 5-years-old, he was speechless."

farmer finds woolly mammoth bones
Photo: Melanie Maxwell | The Ann Arbor News

In the end, it turned out to be part of an extinct creature that roamed these fields thousands of years ago.

farmer finds woolly mammoth bones
Photo: Melanie Maxwell | The Ann Arbor News

University of Michigan Professor Dan Fisher came out Wednesday night and by Thursday morning confirmed it was a woolly mammoth from the teeth that were found.

farmer finds woolly mammoth bones
Photo: Melanie Maxwell | The Ann Arbor News

Paleontologists from the University of Michigan spent the day digging up the skull and an enormous tusk, along with many other, smaller remains.

wooly mammoth bones chelsea MI
Photo: Melanie Maxwell | The Ann Arbor News

Fisher said the woolly mammoth was probably 40 years old, lived between 10,000 and 15,000 years ago and was hunted by humans who probably killed it, butchered it and stashed it in a pond.

farmer finds woolly mammoth bones
Photo: Melanie Maxwell | The Ann Arbor News

"It turns out we are dealing with carcass parts of animals, in some cases hunted, in other cases maybe not, but in any event, butchered by ancient humans, what we call Paleo-Indians; people who lived in North America about 12 – 13,000 years ago," Fisher said.

farmer finds woolly mammoth bones
Photo: Melanie Maxwell | The Ann Arbor News

Extinct for a minimum of 10,000 years, the woolly mammoth lived during the Pleistocene epoch, and was one of the last in a line of mammoth species. Boasting enormous tusks and looking a bit like a furry version of the modern-day elephant, the woolly mammoth did co-exist alongside humans for a time, scientists say.

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