Wooly mammoth in Michigan – level 3
A farmer in Michigan has reaped an unusual harvest – a 10,000-year-old woolly mammoth skeleton. The astonishing discovery was made while James Bristle and a friend were digging in his soy field. The pair initially thought they were pulling out a fence post, but it turned out to be a giant rib bone.
Several other pieces of the prehistoric animal were uncovered, including its skull and tusks.
Palaeontologists from the University of Michigan soon took control of the site and began the painstaking process of excavation.
“It was an adult male, probably in its forties at the time of its death, probably lived between 10,000 and 15,000 years ago.”
While the skeleton is not complete, it does include large sections of the mammoth remains, including its pelvis, vertebrae and shoulder blades. Fisher says that his team believes it was killed by humans.
“One of the students found a small fragment of what we think is a stone tool. We found three large boulders next to one another in one place just offset from the skull, and we’ve seen those before. We think that they’re a kind of anchor.”
Mammoths and mastodons, both distant relatives of the elephant, inhabited North America until they became extinct around 10 to 11,000 years ago. Around 330 skeletons have been unearthed in Michigan, but none have been as complete as this one.
Difficult words: reap (to collect something), harvest (the act of reaping – collecting the crops from the field), astonishing (amazing), tusk (a long tooth which grows from the mouth of an elephant or a mammoth), painstaking (very careful), excavation (excavating – digging), pelvis (a set of curved bones at the base of your spine), singular vertebra plural vertebrae (one of the small bones which go down your back), fragment (a piece), boulder (a large piece of rock), offset (a short distance), anchor (a heavy thing used to keep something somewhere).
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