An astounding discovery in North Dakota has been deemed nothing short of “mammoth” by scientists.
Coal miners at Freedom Mine near Beulah made a remarkable find in the early hours of Memorial Day. Although state officials kept details under wraps until recently, the Department of Mineral Resources later revealed that the workers unearthed a remarkably well-preserved seven-foot-long tusk, which led to the discovery of over 20 bones, KVLY-TV reported.
Recognizing the significance of their find, the miners promptly “roped off the site,” as confirmed by the North Dakota DMR in a statement to KVLY-TV.
Geological and historical experts, alongside the federal Bureau of Land Management, were enlisted to assess the find. While it wasn't an entire ancient mammoth skeleton, the find represented a substantial portion of one, described by Clint Boyd of the state's Geological Survey as "one of the most complete mammoth skeletons."
KFYR-TV reported that the excavation process took over two weeks to reveal the bones, including a shoulder blade, ribs, parts of two hips and a tooth, all preserved in what was once a stream bed. These bones are currently undergoing examination at the North Dakota Heritage Center and State Museum.
Researchers aim to identify the mammoth's species, with possibilities including woolly mammoths and Columbian mammoths, both of which inhabited North America in the distant past, according to NewsNation.
After the find, state officials used the opportunity to underscore their opposition to the proposed fossil fuel phase-out, emphasizing that without coal mining, this significant mammoth skeleton might still remain hidden.
The North Dakota Geological Survey, known for its annual fossil digs across the state, is set to host events between late June and mid-August, that feature a wide variety of fossils beyond just dinosaurs.
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Believing that North Dakota was once filled with mammoths during the ice age, officials theorize they became extinct about 10,000 years ago.
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