Sunday, November 8, 2015

Smitty the Mastodont

Mastodont Bones Found

In l985, the gigantic bones of a mastodont were found in

 Grandville, a city in West Michigan. A family digging the

foundation of a new house reported the find to Dr. Richard

Flanders, an anthropologist at Grand Valley State University

and Dr. Flanders along with his anthropology students began

the task of digging up the skeleton of the Ice Age animal

very carefully so that none of the bones would be lost or

destroyed in the process.

After all the bones had been carefully reassembled, they

could learn a great deal about Smitty, a name the students

gave to the ancient animal. Smitty weighed as much as a

school bus and his huge tusks were supported by a very

powerful neck.

Some parts of Smitty were missing, the brain and the

legs. They wondered if Smitty might have been hunted and

then killed by paleo indians because these would have been

the choice cuts of meat. Professor Flanders took some of the

bones to a butcher for his opinion. Flanders suspected that

the animal had been butchered for its meat. The butcher told

him that it looked to him as if the bones had been butchered

in the same way butchers still cut meat today.

The place where Smitty was found also led Dr. Flanders

and his students to believe that the mastodont had been

driven into a pit by a number of hunters and their dogs where

he could be killed with stone weapons.

Although the mastodonts and their larger relatives the

mammoths were numerous at the end of the Ice Age and

quite a few of their bones have been found in the Great

Lakes basin, they disappeared from the face of the Earth

along with the other mega sized animals.

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