Indiana Sewer Project Unearths Trove of Mastodon Bones

SEYMOUR, Ind. (AP) — Workers installing sewer lines across a southern Indiana farm unearthed the fossilized bones of a mastodon that likely stood about 9 feet (2.7 meters) tall.

Joe Schepman (l) and son Brad hold the partial tusk of a mastodon found on the family's property (photo: Jordan Richart/The Tribune)

The bones include most of a tusk, parts of a skull and a jawbone with teeth. They were recently dug up on a farm in Seymour, about 60 miles (96 kilometers) south of Indianapolis.

Joe Schepman owns the farm with his family. He tells the Seymour Tribune that "it's amazing to think about something this large roaming around this area."

Schepman said he was told the mastodon remains belonged to a male estimated to have been 40-50 years old at its time of death 10,000-13,000 years ago.

Ron Richards is senior research curator of paleobiology at the Indiana State Museum. He says the mastodon would have stood between 9 (2.7 meters) and 9½ feet (2.8 meters) tall.

Richards says a more precise estimate of the fossil's age will be determined using radiocarbon dating.

According to The Tribune, this was not the first time that mastodon remains have been found in Jackson County.  A September, 20, 1929 article found in the Seymour newspaper's archives reported that a man who was trapping for fur in the county found teeth, two tusks and part of the jawbone of a mastodon in late 1928, according to The Tribune.

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