Palaeontology: Miners in North Dakota find ancient mammoth skeleton - Triops Galaxy

Palaeontology: Miners in North Dakota find ancient mammoth skeleton

By a stroke of luck, miners discovered the prehistoric tusk of a mammoth. The last of these majestic animals died out around 10,000 years ago during the Ice Age. But now miners in North Dakota may have come across a significantly older specimen. A team of palaeontologists went to the site immediately after the miners discovered the tusk in the Freedom Mine. Palaeontologist Jeff Person expressed his amazement at the astonishingly good condition of the tusk, despite the robust equipment used by the miners.

10,000 to possibly 100,000 year old skeletons

During their search, the research team came across more than 20 additional bones that could belong to a complete skeleton. The results of this exciting discovery were published in the North Dakota Geological Survey, the main source of geological information in the state. The site contains not only the tusk, but also other parts of the skeleton, which are in surprisingly good condition. The researchers estimate the age of the tusk and the entire skeleton at an impressive 10,000 to possibly 100,000 years. More precise information will only be available after further investigations, although the process of cleaning and stabilising the bones is described as time-consuming.

The exact species of mammoth also remains unconfirmed for the time being and requires further investigation. Mammoths that became extinct around 10,000 years ago include the woolly mammoth and the Columbian mammoth. However, the researchers are confident that identification should be possible due to the completeness of the skeleton. In addition to the impressive tusk, ribs, a shoulder blade and parts of the hips were also found during the twelve-day excavation. This discovery is described as particularly exciting and scientifically significant, as most mammoth fossils usually only consist of individual bones or teeth. Palaeontologist Clint Boyd, who was involved in the excavation site, is delighted with this outstanding and scientifically extremely important discovery, which will enrich research into mammoths.

Sladjan Lazic

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