A Michigan farmer has unearthed an unlikely find — an more than 11,000-year-old woolly mammoth skeleton.
The Michigan farmer said he was digging in his field when he came upon the ancient remains of a butchered woolly mammoth, according to The Gawker.
“It was probably a rib bone that came up. We thought it was a bent fence post.”
— News 9 (@NEWS9) October 3, 2015
Dan Fisher, a professor at the University of Michigan who helped excavate the skeleton, told the Ann Arbor News that the enormous beast had likely been around 40-years-old and lived between 10,000 and 15,000 years ago.
— CBS News (@CBSNews) October 3, 2015
According to Fisher, the woolly mammoth appeared to have been hunted down by humans butchered and likely weighed down with rocks in a pond.
“They did that to store meat and come back to it later.”
— KGW News (@KGWNews) October 3, 2015
The find was made by farmer James Bristle and his friend, who were working in a soy field in Lima Township, in Michigan’s Washtenaw County.
Fisher said that there had only been 10 similar finds in Michigan, although around 300 woolly mammoths have been found worldwide.
— Ticia Verveer (@ticiaverveer) October 3, 2015
According to the New York Times, researchers have unearthed the woolly mammoth’s skull and tusks, as well as vertebrae, a pelvis, pieces of its shoulder blades, and one kneecap. The woolly mammoth’s fore and hind limbs are missing and may have already been eaten, according to the researchers.
The team based their assumptions on clues such as stone tool fragments and three large boulders, which they think were used as anchors, near the bones to support their hypothesis.
— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) October 3, 2015
According to the researchers, the findings might provide insight into when humans first settled and hunted in present-day Michigan.
— MLive (@MLive) October 2, 2015
Published in Science magazine, the study conducted in Australia determined that large animals, or megafauna, of the last ice age, including woolly mammoths, short-faced bears, the giant sloth, and cave lions, largely went extinct because of rapid climate warming events.
Researchers believe the warming climate change effected the larger animals habitats and prey.
Alan Cooper, the study’s first author and director for the Australian Centre for Ancient DNA at the University of Adelaide in Australia, said in a statement to Live Science that interstadials “are known to have caused dramatic shifts in global rainfall and vegetation patterns.”
— Science News (@ScienceNews) July 24, 2015
Although the climate warming events seemed to have caused the demise of the large animals, temperature drops during the same period had little effect. Only the hot interstadial periods were associated with the large die-offs and eventual extinction, according to Cooper.
Ancient humans also may have played a role in the giant animals’ extinction, said Cooper. By disrupting the animals’ environments, human societies and hunting parties may have made it harder for the animals to migrate to new areas and to repopulate areas where megafauna had gone extinct, he said.
— Daily Mirror (@DailyMirror) July 23, 2015
In any case, something happened the the woolly mammoth in Michigan, whether it succumbed to humans or climate change. Some would say it only helps to spotlight the efforts of animal protection agencies that fight for the animals that still roam the planet.
What do you think of the cool woolly mammoth find in Michigan?
[Image via SkyNews/Twitter]