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Mammoth excavation underway near Oskaloosa

Nearly 30 bones have been recovered so far

A volunteer for the University of Iowa Museum of Natural History shows one of the mammoth bones moments after it was dug up, Sunday, July 22, 2012, near Oskaloosa. Around 12 people from the Indian Creek Nature Center signed up to volunteer at the excavation site. (Karuna Ang/The Gazette)
A volunteer for the University of Iowa Museum of Natural History shows one of the mammoth bones moments after it was dug up, Sunday, July 22, 2012, near Oskaloosa. Around 12 people from the Indian Creek Nature Center signed up to volunteer at the excavation site. (Karuna Ang/The Gazette)

Editor's Note: As of now, the land owner would like to keep his last name and location undisclosed for privacy reasons.

Recently John and his family enlisted the help of University of Iowa experts to aid in the excavation of an assortment of mammoth bones. This project is led by the University of Iowa Museum with cooperation from the Department of Geoscience, the Office of the State Archaeologist and various local nature groups.

The bones were found in their backyard two years ago when the family were out looking for berries. Nearly 30 bones have been recovered, and the University scientists are using a ground-penetrating radar to help mark areas where bones might be.

According to Sarah Horgen, project lead for the excavation, they are still not sure how much longer they need to dig. The radar shows where there are anomalies or something different under the ground. Other than bones, sand, big boulders, and rock beds have shown up on the radar.

This project has generated a lot of interest from people all over Iowa.

"We have been getting lots of calls and emails from people. A chance like this for people to get out and do hands-on kind of research doesn't happen very often," Horgen explains.

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