Sue Nehrt and her brother spent much of their childhood playing on their family farm in Seymour, Indiana. The two would often find arrowheads on the 100 acres of farmland, so when Sue’s husband Tony was told that bones had been discovered on the farm, she thought they could be Native American remains.
Sue was mistaken. The bones actually belonged to a mastodon, according to the Courier Journal. Mastodons, which can be comparable in size to an elephant, were alive during the Ice Age.
"It's something you don't ever think was roaming around that many years ago," Sue Nehrt said.
According to Tony Nehrt, crews that had been working on a sewer system project in Seymour came across the bones last week. Sue Nehrt’s brother, Joe Schepman, continues to care for the farm. Joe went to the scene to look at the bones and sent Tony photos.
"You couldn't really establish the size of the bones," Tony Nehrt said. "But later on, he sent me pictures of the bones in the back of a truck, and you could really see the size."
Ron Richards, the senior research curator of paleobiology at the Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites, confirmed that the bones were the remains of a mastodon. The bones included part of a jaw, a tusk, leg, teeth, and skull. The mastodon would have likely been between 9 and 9 ½ feet tall and about 12,000 pounds when it died 10,000-13,000 years ago.
"It's a pretty strange feeling when you see the size of these bones," Tony Nehrt said. "Just to hear the timeline of that particular animal, the habitat that they lived in, how things have changed around here. It's interesting information."
The families want to donate the bones to the Indiana State Museum in Indianapolis. The museum has the largest collection of mastodons in the state.
Mastodon remains were also reported to have been discovered in 1928 and 1949 in the Southern Indiana county.
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