SHELBY TWP. (WWJ/AP) – A researcher has confirmed that two 11-year-old boys found a mastodon bone over the summer while exploring a southeast Michigan yard.

Eric Stamatin, of Macomb County’s Shelby Township, and his cousin Andrew Gainariu, of Troy, found the bone near a stream while exploring Stamatin’s backyard.

Stamatin said it looked like a rock, but a hole made them think it was a bone.

A researcher at Cranbrook Institute of Science in Bloomfield Hills confirmed it was an axis bone from an extinct American mastodon, a relative of the elephant.

“The bone is likely between 13,000 and 14,000 years old and is the fourth record  of the American mastodon from Macomb County,” Paleontologist John Zawiskie told the Detroit News. “Judging from the  size of this find, the animal was probably an adult around 8 or 9 feet high at  the shoulders and weighing roughly 6 tons.”

A search of the area didn’t turn up more bones.

Zawiskie said at least 211 mastodons have been discovered in the southern  portion of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula.

The giant mastodon was designated the official state fossil of Michigan in 2002.

TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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