Sunday, June 15, 2014

Bachelor party bonus

A group of young men, one of whom was soon to be married, were hiking through Elephant Butte Lake State Park, some 150 miles (240 km) outside of Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S. They stumbled across a tusk sticking out of the ground and when they began to dig the sand away, thought they may have discovered the remains of a prehistoric mammoth. They contacted the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science and paleontologist Gary Morgan tentatively identified the creature as not a mammoth, but a mastodon, specifically a stegomastodon that roamed North America 3 million years ago. The beast stood 9' (2.7 m) tall and weighed 13,000 pounds (5900 kg). The skull the bachelors found (IMAGES HERE) is itself nearly 1,000 pounds (454 kg) because it is filled with sand, but will soon be excavated, studied, and placed on display at the museum. Morgan believes it to be nearly 100% complete and one of the discoverers, Antonia Gradillas, comments, "This is the coolest thing ever. Some people with Ph.D.s in this field might not even have this kind of opportunity. We were so lucky."


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