During their summer break two Michigan preteen boys were digging around for crawfish in the metro Detroit area when they uncovered something much bigger than the crustaceans they were hunting.
According to a story in the Detroit News, Eric Stamatin and cousin Andrew Gainariu, both 11, found a mastodon bone in a stream running through Macomb County.
In an undated photo provided by the Cranbrook Institute of Science, Eric Stamatin, left, and Andrew Gainariu stand outside the museum with the mastodon bone they found. (Photo: AP/Cranbook Institute of Science, HONS)
"At first it just looked like a rock, but it had a hole in it so we thought maybe it was a bone," Stamatin said, according to the News.
The fossil sat in the Stamatin family's house for a few months until a fellow family member who was a physician said it appeared to be a vertebra. Contacting the Cranbrook Institute of Science in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., it was confirmed to be the bone of a mastodon roaming the area 13,000 to 14,000 years ago, the Detroit News reported.
Complete mastodon skeleton in a museum. (Photo: Wikimedia/The Paleontological Research Institution)
"Judging from the size of this find, the animal was probably an adult around 8 or 9 feet high at the shoulders and weighing roughly 6 tons," paleontologist John Zawiskie said, according to the News.
(Image: Dantheman9758 at en.wikipedia)
The team from Cranbrook reportedly cased the area where the vertebra was found but didn't uncover other fossils.
The Detroit News reported that this is the fourth case of the woolly mammoth relative being found in Macomb County. In the entire lower peninsula of Michigan, more than 211 mastodons have been found, making it the state's fossil.