A family was stunned when they discovered the skeleton of a 60,000-year-old mammoth in the gravel pit behind their family business.
The almost complete set of nearly perfectly preserved fossils were uncovered in May when Marty McEwen and his grandson were digging at the family business in North Central Texas. When McEwen hit a 6ft-long tusk, he alerted a nearby paleontologist who carefully excavated the remaining bones.
Experts believe that due to the creature’s small size it was likely a female mammoth. It’s believed that she died shortly after falling on her left side.
“I am extremely excited about this outstanding find – it’s very unique for North Central Texas,” Tom Vance, a paleontologist from Navarro College, said.
The skeleton was donated to the Perot Museum by the McEwen family, where it will be further examined and catalogued. To further protect the creature, the exact location of the excavation site has not been released.
“The McEwens have made a huge contribution to science,” Ron Tykoski, a paleontologist at the Perot Museum, said. “The fossil is now part of the public trust, meaning scientists can describe it, study it, publish papers on it and display it from this time on.”
Tykoski added that without the McEwens’ gift, the creature could have gone on auction never to be seen in public again, which would have been a huge loss to science.