Children's camp the site of mastodon bones

Published: Sep. 29, 2016 at 6:06 PM EDT
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(9/29/16) University of Michigan scientists have been visiting a children's camp in Tuscola County, recovering mastodon bones.

Over the next few weeks they hope to remove as much of the skeleton as possible.

School kids will tell you mastodons were related to elephants and stood seven to nine feet tall at the shoulder. They wandered North America before becoming extinct. 300 remains have been found in Michigan, including the Fowler Center for Outdoor Living in Tuscola County.

"The first piece that we pulled out, I'm not sure what it was but it looked like a log essentially. They almost walked over it," said Kyle Middleton of the Fowler Center.

The bones were found in 2014 by children at the camp. The University of Michigan was notified and scientists studied the site and promised to return at a later date.

The area where the bones were found is beginning to erode and it became more urgent for the bones to be removed. A team is being assembled to return to the site near Mayville.

A paleontologist who studied the bones thinks Native Americans may have killed the mastodon and ate well for the next several days.

"If you look at some of the bones there are cuts in it so it looked like possibly humans cut away the meat and the meat was, you know, preserved so there was human involvement," said Middleton.

A UM paleontologist will return to the site October 8 and with the help of local students dig up all the bones they can find. The bones will be studied at UM and the Fowler Center will get some copies to show future campers.