FOUND: A Woolly Mammoth in a Michigan Farmer's Field - Atlas Obscura
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FOUND: A Woolly Mammoth in a Michigan Farmer’s Field

Securing the mammoth skull and tusks with straps before hoisting it out of the pit. (Photo: Daryl Marshke/Michigan Photography)

Two soybean farmers in eastern Michigan were digging deep into a field, aiming to drain water, when, at about eight feet deep, they hit a substance that looked like wood. As the Detroit Free Press reports, the farmers soon realized they had struck not wood, but bone. 

Was it a dinosaur bone? They called the University of Michigan, who passed on the news to Daniel Fisher, at the school’s Museum of Paleontology. Once on scene, Fisher determined that it wasn’t a dinosaur the farmers had found—it was a mammoth.

Mammoth skull and tusks being hoisted from the excavation pit. (Photo: Daryl Marshke/Michigan Photography)

Fisher and his colleague had just one day to uncover the mammoth’s skeleton, because the farmers needed to get on with their work, according to the Free Press. They were able to find a head, tusks, ribs and some vertebrae; the missing pieces may have been taken away by humans who possibly killed the creature for food. 

There have been 30 or so other mammoths found in the state, the Free Press reports; this one, Fisher told the paper, may be a Jeffersonian mammoth—a hybrid that’s not quite a Woolly mammoth and not quite a Columbian mammoth, but still very large, very impressive, and very much not what you find doing fieldwork every day.

Bonus finds: A Transylvanian horde600 kilos of cocaine made to look like coal

Every day, we highlight one newly lost or found object, curiosity or wonder. Discover something unusual or amazing? Tell us about it! Send your finds to sarah.laskow@atlasobscura.com.