Prehistoric mammoth femur found in Iowa family's backyard
New York, June 6 (ANI): A backyard in Iowa was converted into an excavation site after a family went blackberry-picking behind their house two years ago and came back with a prehistoric mammoth femur.
The man identified only as John discovered the bone when one of his sons saw what he believed to be a ball while walking in the forest behind their property in 2010, according to Des Moines' ABC5-WOI.
John, who is interested in archaeology, quickly realized that the object wasn't a toy.
"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," the New York Daily News quoted John as telling the channel.
Although he had discovered the 4-foot-long femur nearly two years ago, John just recently brought the massive bone to the University of Iowa to be identified.
The university's Museum of Natural History is leading the backyard excavation.
Volunteers from the University of Iowa and Iowa State University have so far found the mammoth's feet bones and thoracic ribs, in addition to its femur.
While it is not unusual to find mammoth fossils in Iowa, it is rare to find so many bones belonging to the same animal in the same place.
Sarah Horgen, the museum's education coordinator, said the mammoth went extinct by the end of the last ice age and is at least 12,000 years old.
"It's pretty exciting - partially because the mammoth is being discovered where it died," Horgen said.
"We know that because we're finding very large bones right alongside very small bones," she said.
For now, the bones are resting in John's living room until he figures out what to do with them.
On being asked what his plans were he said "Build another room off the side of the home and put it together?". (ANI)
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