A couple of divers discovered a giant mammoth femur on a diving trip in Florida.
The four foot long leg bone was stored in the sediment at the bottom of the Peace River, about 55 miles from Sarasota.
During the Pleistocene Age 2.6 million to 10,000 years ago, Colombian mammoths roamed the area, reaching heights of 13 feet and weighing over 10 tons.
The divers, both amateur paleontologists, believe the femur came from a mammoth that died about 100,000 years ago.
Peace River is known for its many fossils: the couple also found a saber-toothed tiger tooth on the same expedition.
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Henry Sadler holds up a 50-pound thigh bone that belongs to a Colombian mammoth. He and his friend Derek Demeter discovered the bone while diving in the Peace River in southwest Florida
Derek Demeter and Henry Sadler found the 50-pound bone on one of their regular diving trips.
On an April 25 expedition in the Peace River in southwest Florida, Sadler ran up and told Demeter that he had found something “amazing”.
It was a four-foot-long femur that belonged to a Colombian mammoth, a distant relative of the Asian elephant that lived in Florida during the Pleistocene Period 2.6 million to 10,000 years ago.
“When I saw it, I couldn’t believe it. I was in denial, ”Demeter, planetarium director at Seminole State College, told the Orlando Sentinel. “It was really great to see that discovered.”
Derek Demeter (picture) estimates that the bone is around 100,000 years old. Colombian mammoths lived in Florida during the Pleistocene Age 2.6 million to 10,000 years ago
Sadler and Demeter are not only avid divers, but also amateur paleontologists.
‘But it weighs a ton [it’s an] incredible discovery! ‘Demeter wrote on social media.
The bone was well preserved, he told Fox 35, because it was buried under the sand in the river bed.
Radiocarbon dating has not yet been performed on the femur, but due to its density, Demeter suspected it was approximately 100,000 years old.
The Colombian mammoth became one of the largest species of mammoth, reaching up to 13 feet tall and weighing more than 10 tons.
It roamed the western hemisphere from the northern United States to Central America.
Mammoths, along with most of the Pleistocene megafauna, became extinct about 14,000 years ago.
Although they overlapped with the first humans in North America for several thousand years, it is not clear whether climate change, overhunting, or other factors led to their extinction.
Most of the remains the duo found were contemporary, Demeter told the Sentinel: He and Sadler uncovered scallops. Shark teeth and even stingray spines.
The Colombian mammoth was up to 13 feet tall and weighed more than 10 tons. It was one of the largest mammoth species. Experts aren’t sure whether overhunting, climate change, or a combination of the two led to extinction about 10,000 years ago
“When you uncover this fossil and find these giant, elephant-like creatures roaming around Florida in what was likely once grassland, you wonder what it was like in ancient times,” he said. “It’s a kind of time travel. It lets your imagination run wild. ‘
The Peace River is a popular destination for fossil hunters, who have reported finding megalodon teeth and bones from giant armadillos and sloths in its waters.
The same day they found the mammoth leg, Sadler also discovered part of an extinct shark and a tooth of a saber-toothed tiger.
The Peace River is a popular destination for fossil hunters: the same day they found the mammoth leg, Sadler also discovered the top third of a saber-toothed tiger’s fang
“There’s only the top third of it, so it’s pretty much missing,” Sadler wrote on Instagram. “It’s a one-off find, just like the mammoth bone. Derek and I seem pretty lucky together. ‘
Sadler, a middle school teacher, previously found other mammoth bones in the river, including vertebrae and part of a jaw.
He donated these specimens to the Florida Museum of Natural History, but he uses the leg bone as a teaching tool.
“It currently sits in the classroom where the kids can see, touch, feel and really get a story of the natural world,” said Sadler. “You heard about saber-toothed tigers and actually found a piece of one of those animals and brought it to life for these children. It’s just great. ‘