Mammoth bones have been unearthed at Oregon’s Reser Stadium, and apparently the fossils are incredibly well-preserved.
The surprising discovery was made on Monday, January 25, as the Valley Football Center located on the Oregon State University campus in Corvallis was undergoing expansion works.
As construction crews were busy digging around the northern side of the outdoor athletic stadium, where the new locker room was supposed to be built, they brought to light incredible large, strange bones, which they initially mistook for tree trunks.
Completely stunned, Tim Sissel, general contractor and senior project manager at Fortis Construction, diligently stopped the excavation process in its tracks, and immediately alerted archaeologists at Oregon State University.
After a thorough examination, experts determined that the ancient remains dated back from more than 10,000 years ago.
Initially, a 5-foot long femur, a pelvis and several ribs from a mammoth were dredged up, and afterwards several other prehistoric remains were unearthed, all of them pertaining to animals that roamed present-day Corvallis during the Ice Age.
For instance, researchers were able to retrieve the carcass of an extinct camel species, and also that of an ancient bison.
Apparently, it’s likely that the 10-foot hollow located in the vicinity of Reser Stadium used to be a watering hole, a marsh or a small lake.
As explained by Loren Davis, associate professor of anthropology, creatures whose health was beginning to fail would frequently spend their last days near a water body, and that might explain why so many fossils have surfaced in the area.
In fact, the entire Willamette Valley, where Corvallis is located, used to be a very rich ecosystem in bygone times, being populated by thousands of mammoths, tigers, bison, giant ground sloths, lions, bears, beavers and camels.
However, this was the first time that fossils were identified right on Ohio State University’s campus, and that’s why the discovery was so jaw-dropping for students and academics likewise.
Construction works at the Reser stadium field were temporarily been brought to a halt, as experts tried to retrieve the entire archaeological treasure that had been lying hidden there for thousands of years.
Now, it appears that their mission is complete, and given that no human remains or artifacts have been found in the area, the pit couldn’t be listed as an archaeological site that should be conserved and restored.
As a result, the expansion of the stadium will continue as before, and hopefully no other covert fossils will be disrupted as the excavation resumes.
Meanwhile, Oregon State University representative Steve Clark has declared that the public institution has no desire to sell the paleontology finds to a local museum.
Instead, the ancient bones will most likely be kept by the university, in order to be analyzed even more carefully by archaeologists.
At the moment, since the fossils were kept under heavy wet soil for the last 10,000 years, some of them are exceptionally well-preserved.
However, now that they have been removed from that protective environment, they are getting progressively drier and are much more exposed to decay, so experts will also have to find a way of keeping them intact, by coating them with various chemicals in order to preserve them and eventually date them with greater accuracy.
Once this aim is achieved, the Ice Age remains will probably be featured as part of an open exhibition, giving students, professors and visitors the chance to marvel at them whenever they wish.
Image Source: OPB