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U-M Announces Dig To Unearth Remains Of Ancient Mastodon In Michigan's Thumb

ANN ARBOR (WWJ) - A dig is planned in Michigan's thumb area to unearth the remains of a mastodon that could be 11,000 to 13,000 years old.

Ten teachers from Tuscola County will be working with the University of Michigan on the dig which will take place next month,  Oct. 8-9 and 15-16.

The bones were discovered two years ago, the university said in a release, on property owned by the Fowler Center for Outdoor Learning in Mayville, Michigan.

Researchers say they were exposed by natural erosion.

The selected teachers will help dig for mastodon bones, wash them, map the excavation site and conduct related activities that "may involve getting wet or muddy, hot or cold, tired, sore, and excited about Michigan's Ice Age history," according to the application form sent to schools this month.

After they are recovered, the bones will be donated to the U-M paleontology museum for further study.

"It's our hope that these teachers will gain a deeper understanding of how science operates and how our knowledge of the natural world grows," said U-M paleontologist Daniel Fisher, who will lead the excavation.

Fisher, who has conducted research on mastodons, mammoths and elephants for more than 35 years, says the remains of roughly 300 mastodons and 30 mammoths — both extinct relatives of the elephant — have been found in Michigan over the decades.

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