Books by Barbara Joan Spring
Mastodont Bones Found
In l985, the gigantic bones of a mastodont were found in
Grandville, a city in West Michigan. A family digging the
foundation of a new house reported the find to Dr. Richard
Flanders, an anthropologist at Grand Valley State University
and Dr. Flanders along with his anthropology students began
the task of digging up the skeleton of the Ice Age animal
very carefully so that none of the bones would be lost or
destroyed in the process.
After all the bones had been carefully reassembled, they
could learn a great deal about Smitty, a name the students
gave to the ancient animal. Smitty weighed as much as a
school bus and his huge tusks were supported by a very
Some parts of Smitty were missing, the brain and the
legs. They wondered if Smitty might have been hunted and
then killed by paleo indians because these would have been
the choice cuts of meat. Professor Flanders took some of the
bones to a butcher for his opinion. Flanders suspected that
the animal had been butchered for its meat. The butcher told
him that it looked to him as if the bones had been butchered
in the same way butchers still cut meat today.
The place where Smitty was found also led Dr. Flanders
and his students to believe that the mastodont had been
driven into a pit by a number of hunters and their dogs where
he could be killed with stone weapons.
Although the mastodonts and their larger relatives the
mammoths were numerous at the end of the Ice Age and
quite a few of their bones have been found in the Great
Lakes basin, they disappeared from the face of the Earth
along with the other mega sized animals.
Web Site: The Dynamic Great Lakes
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