In a bizarre and interesting discovery, construction workers unearthed what seem to be 10,000-year-old bones of a mammoth and other ancient animals at the Reser Stadium of the Oregon State University (OSU). What was supposed to be a renovation project of the athletic department became the focus of studies for the school's anthropology department.
Construction workers digging up soil during the expansion of the football center uncovered evidence that ancient animals like dinosaurs and other extinct mammals once roamed the state more than an estimated 10,000 years ago.
— Oregon State (@oregonstateuniv) January 27, 2016
"We believe we have an intact femur from a mammoth. There also appear to be bones from other species, including possibly a bison and a camel," OSU spokesman Steve Clark said. He added that the University's archaeologist thinks that the location was once a pond, a watering hole for the mammals or a place where they died.
Archeology professors estimated the bones to be at least 10,000 years old. The crew who unearthed the bones saw no human remains or artifacts on the site.
"Some of the bones are not in very good shape, but some are actually quite well preserved," Loren Davis, an associate professor of anthropology at OSU said. He added that they need to conduct further investigation to determine the exact age of the bones.
The OSU stated that since the find does not involve humans, the bones are not considered part of an archeological site. However, the university is treating the area as a paleontological site and public access to the area has been closed off.
“We just need to be very careful about what we’ve found,” Clark said.
Davis and his students started digging up other sites in the stadium to see if there are other bones under the ground. The team plans to soak the fossils in water to prevent further damage. They will also use carbon dating to learn more about how old the bones really are.
"It'll be a great learning experience for them, to learn how to identify extinct animal bones. It's really an amazing find," Davis said.
The finding shows that tens of thousands of years ago, larger creatures that are now extinct once roamed the area. There is more to be discovered about the past that exists underground.