A construction crew unearthed the remains of an Ice-Age mammoth, while renovating Oregon State University (OSU) Beaver’s Valley Football Center. The bones were found in the north end of Reser Stadium.
Loren Davis, an associate professor of anthropology at Oregon State University, said that they found the femur bone of a mammoth, as well as bones from extinct ice-age animals, such as a bison, and what appears to be an ancient camel or horse. Some bones are very well preserved, while others are not in very good condition, Davis stated.
The mammoth species was not yet determined. It could be a woolly mammoth (M. primigenius) or a Columbian mammoth (Mammuthus columbi). However, woolly mammoths usually lived farther north, according to researchers.
To determine the age of the mammoth remains, Davis and his students will use radiocarbon. This method can help determine the age of organisms that lived as far back as 50,000 years ago. Other methods can also be used to date even older organic material.
A 45,000-year-old mammoth was recently found in Siberia. Its carcass had injuries on it which indicated the involvement of humans. However, the mammoth from Oregon had no such injuries, meaning that it likely died of natural causes, Davis stated.
When animals are sick, they usually find a body of water and die there, Davis explained. Perhaps the area where the stadium currently stands was a bog about ten thousand years ago, when the animals died, the researchers said.
The animal bones were discovered in a plot that was ten feet deep (three metres). As soon as they found the mammoth femur, the construction workers stopped work, Tim Sissel, the senior project manager of Hunt/Fortis, a joint venture and general contractor on the project, said.
According to Davis, the site is not considered an archaeological site because no human remains or artefacts were found there. Construction on the station continued after he and his colleagues removed the bones.
To prevent further deterioration, Davis will soak the bones in water. The pile of dirt in which the bones were encased will undergo further investigation to see whether more ice-age remains can be found, according to the research team.
Image Source: dehayf5mhw1h7. cloudfront. net