Most of us have been to a museum, especially as kids, and looked up at the giant dinosaur displays and gasped at how large they are. Well, now imagine stumbling onto those very same enormous bones, except instead of being in a museum, you’re digging up the ground at a farm.
That’s exactly what happened to an excavation company in Seymour, Indiana. While installing sewer lines across a farm, they unearthed fossilized bones of mastodons that most likely stood 9 feet tall.
During the excavation, they found pieces of tusks, part of a skull, upper leg bones, a joint and vertebrae, and a jawbone with teeth still intact. The owner of the farm, Joe Schepman, says, “it’s amazing to think about something this large roaming around this area.” Seymour is only about 60 miles south of Indianapolis.
Senior research curator of at the Indiana State Museum Ron Richards estimates that the animals would’ve been about 9 to 9 1/2 feet tall.
They’re still waiting for the results from radiocarbon dating tests to determine the exact age of the fossils, but mastodons–distant relatives of elephants–are estimated to have lived during the late Miocene or late Pliocene periods, all the way up until their extinction around 10,000 to 11,000 years ago.
Photo credit: The Seymour Tribune