A 30-pound mastodon bone, estimated to be between 8,000 to 1,000,000 years old, found recently near the Rye Patch dam north of Lovelock, is now being prepared for exhibition at the Nevada State Museum, David Gray said today.
“Any elephant bones are rare in Nevada and very hard to find,” he said.
Ben Hunt of Winnemucca found the bone near the shore line while fishing. “At first, he thought it was from a horse,” Gray said, “but on closer examination, he saw it was much bigger. He called the University of Nevada, who notified the Museum.”
The bone, white against the grey sand on the shore, was found with smaller pieces of bone and sea shells. These are the museum’s hope for more accurate dating, since it is difficult to date a prehistoric animal without the teeth. The ground strata helps in dating, as the sea shells, covering the bones, are obviously younger in time than the bone they covered, he said.
Gray descried the big bone as part of the pelvic structure, softened and altered by age. The ancestor of the elephant from which it came probably stood nine feet tall at the shoulder. The other bones, he said, are more pieces of the larger bone, as well as parts of the femur, the upper thigh bone.
Gray asked that people finding bones they think are from prehistoric animals call either the University of Nevada or the museum. “Each time a site is destroyed a page of history is torn out and burned up,” he concluded.
This continues the Appeal’s review of news stories and headlines during its Sesquicentennial year.