Two men were scuba diving in Peace River, located in Arcadia, Florida, when they made one massive discovery. They found a gigantic bone belonging to a now-extinct Columbian mammoth.
Derek Demeter and Henry Sadler were searching for fossils in the river when they came upon the huge 4-foot-long, 50-pound leg bone. In fact, the discovery was completely unexpected as they had initially planned on diving for shark teeth in the Floridian city of Venice, but the wind was so strong that they instead went to Arcadia’s Peace River.
And it certainly worked out for them as the mammoth bone was their greatest ever discovery as Sadler described, “You know the wind kicked us out of Venice, so we went there and had one of the most epic days I have ever had.”
While the men normally donate the fossils that they discover to the Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville – they have already donated about 700 pounds of fossils to the museum – Sadler claimed that he will be keeping the leg bone for himself, “I think I’m gunna keep this one in my classroom. Just because it’s such an amazing piece of history and it gets the kids so excited and it’s just so tangible.”
Their discovery will be documented in literature for Florida scientists to study as they continue searching for more information regarding mammoths that lived in the state.
A video of their discovery and a photo of the bone can be seen here.
Interestingly, there was another mammoth discovery that was made near Venice, Florida, earlier this year. Not far off the coast of Venice, divers Ryan Picou and Blair Morrow found two Columbian mammoth tusks in the Gulf of Mexico. The tusks weren’t the only mammoth remains that Picou found as he previously discovered a jaw with a tooth as well as a leg bone. He even recently found a 5.7 inch Megalodon tooth.
Columbian mammoths existed from about 1.5 million years ago until becoming extinct around 11,000 years ago. They could grow as tall as 13 feet. Based on the marks found on ancient mammoth bones, it is clear that Floridians hunted them (as well as mastodons and other large animals) although it’s still unclear as to how much (if any) their hunting habits affected the animal’s extinction.