Ancient bones discovered in Michigan man's backyard - WNEM TV 5

Ancient bones discovered in Michigan man's backyard

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Source: CBS Source: CBS

When Steve Dodge added a pond to his backyard in Jackson, Michigan about 10 years ago he had no idea what was lurking below.

“I knew right away from when I was young, this was not any animal that I had ever met,” Dodge said.

He dug through the dirt for months, finding dozens of bones.

“What we've found so far is strictly rib bone and ivory,” Dodge said.

Dodge took the bones to experts at Michigan State University and the University of Michigan who said they belonged to either a mastodon or mammoth.

“They need vertebrae or to identify that,” Dodge said.

An expert from U of M said the animals roamed Earth alongside natives around 11,000 years ago. They went extinct from either human hunting or climate.

He said remains are mostly found around water, because animals fell in and died or they were put there by natives who used wetlands as an ancient fridge to store meat.

“There was a lot of life here long before us, and it's in your backyard,” Dodge said.

Dodge believes the rest of the animal is most likely still underneath the pond. He hopes someone can step in, and bring it back above the surface.

Dodge is moving out of the area soon and wants to make sure the history lives on. 

“I would love to have an educational group of any kind to get them out of here and whatever future homeowner here, I hope they feel the same way. They're not mine, they pre-dated me, they belong to the county,” Dodge said.

The bones have given him a lot of perspective over the years, connecting the past with the present.

“I like to putter in the yard and landscape and then you take a reality check and realize we're just a flash in the pan right here, and not all that relevant,” Dodge said. 

Copyright 2017 CBS News / WLNS. All rights reserved. 

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