College football season is over, but Oregon State University’s Reser Stadium still managed to make national headlines earlier this week. Construction crews discovered woolly mammoth bones that date back more than 10,000 years, as well as fossils of other Ice Age animals, 10 feet underneath the stadium's north end zone.
According to The Oregonian, workers discovered a large mammoth femur while digging up the grounds on Monday as part of a planned $42 million expansion project for the school’s Valley Football Center. They ended up unearthing “quite a few bones, and dozens of pieces,” including the mammoth's ribs and pelvis. Other finds included bison bones and skeleton parts that once belonged to a horse or a camel. “Some of the bones are not in very good shape, but some are actually quite well preserved,” Loren Davis, an associate professor of anthropology at OSU, said in a statement.
During prehistoric times, Oregon’s Willamette Valley was populated with thousands of mammoths and other animals. Today, it’s not unusual for construction teams or amateur fossil hunters to stumble upon their skeletons, archaeologists say. They believe that long ago, Oregon State’s football stadium was the location of a pond or watering hole, where animals often came to die. That would explain why numerous bones were found in the same location.
Construction was temporarily halted as archaeologists examined the area and dug up the bones. Nevertheless, university officials say that, for now, the stadium project will still go on as planned. Since workers didn’t find human bones or artifacts, the field isn’t considered a protected archaeological site. Also, Oregon doesn’t have any special regulations regarding the preservation of paleontology discoveries. However, university officials plan to determine the bones’ exact age, and to “use the bones to continue research and education, while creating a showcase” that will help conserve them. Check out a video of the exciting find above.
All images courtesy of YouTube.
[h/t Associated Press]