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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