A Grand Rapids housing developer has recently unearthed remains of a prehistoric mastodon.
Mastodons, the precursor to today’s modern elephant, roamed North America and Asia between 10,000 and 11,000 years ago. The prehistoric find put a temporary halt to the development of Railview Ridge, a housing complex located in Byron Center, MI just south of Grand Rapids.
Joe Siereveld, the owner of Eagle Creek Homes, decided to donate the animal remains to the University of Michigan rather than profit from the rare find by seling them to a private collector. Because excavation had already begun, the company had to pay to have the mastadon bones removed from the site and transported to U of M.
The dig to safely unearth animal remains was overseen by a team from the University of Michigan Museum of Paleontology. A total of 22 bones were found, and because of the smaller size of the bones, researchers determined the animal to be a female mastadon.
Among the bones researchers uncovered were a vertebrae, a humerus, part of a skull, and half a jawbone.
Daniel Fisher, director of the Museum of Paleontology said the museum worked to save the scientific potential of the find with minimal disturbance to Eagle Creek’s operations.
“It’s important for business people to know that when these things are found, we can deal with them in pretty short order,” Fisher said.
Eagle Creek Homes is located at 1360 84th St. SW Byron Center, MI 49315