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Michigan Mastodon fossils on display at Cranbrook Science Museum

Cranbrook Institute of Science is offering a public viewing of the preservation of fossilized mastodon bones that were found earlier this summer near Otter Lake. Prep labs will be open to the public July 20 and July 30, 1-4 p.m. each day. The viewings are free with admission to the Institute of Science.

Among the bones recovered by the Institute's archeologist and geologist are most of both of the innominate bones (hips), an ulna (lower front leg bone) and a proximal phalange (toe bone). The fossils were unearthed during a pond dredging on private property. Initial analysis indicates a not yet fully grown American Mastodon (Mammut americanum). The bones were preserved in lake and bog sediments and are likely about 10,500 to 13,000 years old.

Institute Director and archeologist Dr. Michael Stafford or Geologist John Zawiskie will be on-hand to discuss recovery efforts and to describe the geological history of the find site at both events. In addition, the rarely seen bones of the Raphuun Mastodon, collected in Lapeer County by an Institute field party in 1965 and part of the Institute's collection, will be on display to give the public a "before and after" look at fossil conservation.

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