Friday, October 24, 2014

Amazing Find: 70,000-Year-Old Mammoth Remains in Eastern Idaho

Posted By on Fri, Oct 24, 2014 at 4:43 PM

click to enlarge U.S. BUREAU OF RECLAMATION
  • U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

Officials at the Idaho Museum of Natural History in Pocatello confirmed late Friday that they had accepted a pretty amazing discovery—fossil remains from a mammoth that is at least 70,000 years old, revealed at an excavation near American Falls Reservoir.

A partial skull and parts of one tusk were removed by the museum's paleontological staff on the weekend of Oct. 18. Museum researchers said growth rings on the tusk indicate that the mammal was approximately 16 years old at the time of its death. 

The threat of rising water at American Falls Reservoir added extra urgency to the recovery of the remains. The fossils were discovered in an irrigation drainage, abut 30 feet below the reservoir high water mark. Museum officials recovered the remains as part of a contract with the Bureau of Reclamation.

"We're very lucky to have recovered them," said Roland Springer, Bureau of Reclamation Upper Snake Field Officer Manager. "Had they not been reported to Reclamation, the fossils may have been eroded and carried away into the reservoir."

Meanwhile, museum officials are particularly pleased.

"This find is exciting because there are still teeth in place in the jaw—so much can be learned from that," said Dr. Mary Thompson, the museum's Senior Collection Manager and lead contractor for the fossil recovery effort.

As part of a federal law, the exact location of where the fossil was located should be kept confidential to protect the area from looting.

click to enlarge U.S. BUREAU OF RECLAMATION
  • U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

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