U of M team finishes mastodon dig in Mid-Michigan - WNEM TV 5

U of M team finishes mastodon dig in Mid-Michigan

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MAYVILLE, MI (WNEM) -

Mastodon bones found in Mid-Michigan will be on display at the University of Michigan.

The bones were first discovered at the Fowler Center in Mayville in Tuscola County back in 2014.

Ten students from the Tuscola Intermediate School District Alternative Learning Center discovered them during a walk and after a few more years of natural erosion, there is now a need to dig them up.

University of Michigan researchers excavated the area and the bones will be donated to the university.

Executive Director Kyle Middleton explained the plans of the excavation. 

"The focus is on the educational program here and the teachers. They'll have the opportunity to dig and share that experience with their students," he said. 

Mastodons lived in North and Central American until dying out at the end of the Pleistocene era, about 10,000 to 11,000 years ago.

They are distantly related to elephants and were grazers that ate various types of vegetation.

Permanent molds of the bones will be made, and given to the Fowler Center so they can be on display.

More than 75 complete or nearly complete bones were discovered during the dig. That amounts to 60-70 percent of the mammal's skeletal mass.

The team did not find the tusks, lower jaw or most of the foot bones.

"This is the most complete Michigan mastodon in many decades,"said Daniel Fisher, director of the U-M Museum of Paleontology.

The four-day dig ended on Oct. 16.

>>Slideshow: Mastodon bones found in Mayville<<

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