While some bachelor parties include booze and a few lap dances from strippers, others include the discovery of a fossil mastodon skull.
A group of men were hiking earlier this month in Elephant Butte Lake State Park in New Mexico, about 155 miles south of Albuquerque, when they stumbled upon the 3 million-year-old skull buried in the sand, complete with its tusks, Reuters reports via the New York Post.
Antonia Gradillas, 33, and his friends began digging until the perfectly preserved skull emerged from the desert.
Thinking they had discovered the remains of a woolly mammoth, the group sent photos they took of it to the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, reports The Telegraph.
Gary Morgan, curator and head paleontologist at the museum, led a team that spent nearly six hours on Thursday excavating the fossil, which was buried in about 4 feet of lake silt. It was measured to be about 5 feet by 3 feet and weighed more than 1,000 pounds.
As it turned out, the skull belonged to a stegomastodon, a prehistoric ancestor of today’s elephants that first roamed North America around 15 million years ago and went extinct about 10,000 years ago.
“This mastodon find is older than the woolly mammoth that tread the Earth in the Ice Age. … It probably died on a sandbar of the ancient Rio Grande River,” Morgan told Reuters. “I’ve been here for 20 years and have never seen something like this before.”
Morgan says the creature stood 9 feet tall, weighing more than six tons and was about 50 years old when it died.
"This mastodon was living, drinking, feeding... 3 million years ago," Morgan added.
It will likely take the team of scientists around six months to clean the fossil before they can study it more closely, and it will probably not be on public display for another year.
As for the bros from the bachelor party, Gradillas told ABC News of the find: “This is the coolest thing ever. Some people with PhDs in this field might not even have this kind of opportunity. We were so lucky.”
(Video courtesy of KRQE)