Many hunt the mammoth, but not that many find one buried in a soybean field.
That’s what happened, the Washington Post reports, when one Michigan farmer went
digging in a soybean field Monday when he and his friend pulled up what they first thought was a bent, muddy old fence post.
But it was actually the rib bone of an ancient woolly mammoth.
Two days later University of Michigan paleontologist Daniel Fisher and his students were digging up what remained of the beast, which turned out to be quite a lot, actually. As the Washington Post notes,
There are a few things that make this particular mammoth exciting: It’s a very complete skeleton (although it is missing its hind limbs, feet and some other assorted parts), compared with most of the mammoths found in Michigan and surrounding areas. And because it has been carefully extracted by paleontologists, the bone has the potential to be studied much more thoroughly than those that are haphazardly pulled out of the ground.
Fisher, an expert on all things mammothy, told the WashPo that it looks as though the mammoth had been butchered by humans, though not necessarily killed by them.
Yep, that’s right. They may not have hunted the mammoth. But they apparently ate it anyway, and put the leftovers in a pond to store them for later.
I guess that would be considered the cave-person equivalent of getting takeout?
Prehistoric MRAs must have killed it. Clearly. There’s no way that white knights or feeeeemales could do such a thing.
@EJ (The Other One) — I’m sure that they bored the mammoth to tears, and then it died out of frustration.
“He Found the Mammoth”
…or The Mammoth found him.
This is pretty cool. I’m having a shitty few weeks so thanks for making me smile 🙂
The Mammoth Speaks
“To all of you who question
life and what it means…
I have no answers. Here I am
a-pushing up the beans.”
When I was a little kid, all I ever wanted to be when I grew up was a paleontologist. Whenever I hear about these really great fossil finds, that little boy in me sort of wakes up again and gets all excited.
And yes, I’m sure that whatever neolithic hunter found the mammoth and carved out chunks of meat from it went back home and told all who would listen that he had, in fact, Hunted The Mammoth. 😀
As we’ve mentioned before, there’s nothing to suggest that mammoth hunting was dangerous or even particularly difficult; as demonstrated by the fact that there’s loads of us and very few mammoths.
The archaeological evidence suggests that we just took the best bits of the mammoth and left the rest to rot. Presumably here someone just had a hankering for a nice rump steak.
He’s found the mammoth? But has he perished in the trenches in World War I or died in burning buildings… got resurrected, and did it all over again?
Or something? Also, THE DRAAAAFT!
(No, but seriously, I never expected an actual mammoth story, much less in my own home state!)
Anyone want to take bets on how long it’ll take for MRAs to take credit for this discovery through the power of the Almighty Peen?
Hey, David, this is a little off-topic, but where do you comic-ify your photos? 🙂
Ooh, that’s cool! It reminds me of when I was a kid, digging for dinosaur bones in the park (never found any, but I discovered there was a bottom to the sand pit).
@Paradoxical – Well, you know, it was through the power of the Great Boner that people discovered water on Mars last week… somehow… (Salt water, too. Or maybe that was Male Tears?) Okay, seriously, besides my jumbled mind mixing up memes, I like your binder design for the Unofficial Store. Keep up the awesome work 🙂
I give it… oh, probably two days. A week, tops.
Mow that’s just wasteful. Americans have been wasting food for millennia, it appears.
Nice. A huge fossil just minding it’s own business in a soybean field.
I’m irritated right now. One of my favorite hard rock stations has apparently switched management and are now running with a “For MEN!” ad style. How can you mess up a format that includes Dio and the Ramones? Like that, apparently.
Did they happen to find a block quote with it?
“Presumably here someone just had a hankering for a nice rump steak.” and “[N]ow that’s just wasteful. Americans have been wasting food for millennia, it appears.”
Well, see, they hunted the mammoth, but could only carry 100 pounds back to the wagon. And then they died of dysentery. Or maybe a snake bite. It was always one or the other.
But really, mammoths weighed how many pounds? How much of it could you actually eat before it went off with neither refrigeration nor salt? I’m guessing eat what you could and keep the wild animals full enough that they don’t eat you was actually the practical solution.
More interesting is when did it die? Cuz the question of just when the Americas were settled is kinda one of those “we just don’t know” ones and while not my area, I looked last week and it was 30,000-15,000 years ago, so… enough mammoth left to carbon date it? Actually, that must not be possible, or we’d have already narrowed it down that way, no? Or are finds that show clear human interference, combined with the inherent lack of modernity of a mammoth that rare a find? (If that sentence makes no sense — you wouldn’t carbon date a deer or buffalo, since they could be fairly modern, but a mammoth is inherently not this millennium)
Lol. There’s actually a bunch of different scenarios that could have happened, like if they were migrating and stumbled upon a dead mammoth but couldn’t stay in one place long or maybe the front of the mammoth was rotten or animals had already gotten to it (although it most modern scavengers go through the anus to get at the easy meat of the intestines so probably not).
Are they even sure humans were the one to take off its legs? I’m sure any sort of large carnivore could have been able to sever legs and drag them off long distances. Unless the bones appeared to have been cut or tools were nearby or something, I’m not sure how you would know if humans got meat from it or not.
andiexist, for this effect i used paint.net, which despite the name is software and not a web-based graphic editor. It’s free. I used the effects “ink sketch” and posterize.
a cool find, but the fact that the farmer demanded that they finish excavation in day means that the process was rushed and some important data was almost certainly lost. Unfortunate situation to have to work in for the paleontologist
The college my e-girlfriend went to in Illinois had their own Mammoth site. Excavating it was a multi-year project, so the biology department made it into a lab class for undergradautes. She got an A in mammoths, then became a mammoth TA the next quarter. She wasn’t even a bio major, just a fan of mammoths.
I guess it’s a pity that she’s not on WHTM. I mean, it would be pretty awful for me. But I think y’all would like her.
Pandapool — all true enough, and I’m reasonably sure a saber tooth tiger wouldn’t happily made off with a leg! As for how they know humans had a nibble, the answer is usually either tooth marks (primate teeth are rather unique), or tool marks. Sometimes signs of fire for cooking, but I think that might only really last in caves? Idk, not my field, I just know, um, how they usually tell if cannibalism occurred. (Wow can I not spell that, anyone know how to delete things from autocorrect? Cuz it’s got about six wrong things in there!)
Is M around? Can we get her to weigh in on this? Will her squeals of delight be audible from Australia?
It depends on the phone, but for mine when the bad spelling is shown I just tap it and hold and a dialog appears asking if I’m sure I want to delete.
Aren’t they always?
Especially because of what kind of mammoth it might be. There were two species in the area, woolly mammoths and Columbian mammoths, and according to other articles, this one seems to be a hybrid of the two. All we really know about these hybrids (also called Jefferson’s mammoths) is that they exist, so if it is one, and one so well preserved, hello fuck-tonnes of knowledge!