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.
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