Updated 08:35 AM EDT, Tue, Sep 17, 2019

60,000-Year-Old Mammoth Skeleton Found in Texas

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Move over Jurassic World, Texas just stole some of your thunder. The nearly intact remains of a woolly mammoth were recently discovered in North Texas by a family that was simply digging in a gravel pit that is part of their property. According to scientists, the remains have been preserved in an almost perfect state in the thousands of years after they came to rest underneath the soil a long time ago. 

According to the Houston Chronicle, the mammoth skeleton was discovered by the Mcewen family on their ranch land in Ellis County, which is just south of Dallas. The family has reportedly decided to donate the remains to the Perot Museum of Nature and Science. Though the estimates are all over the place on exactly how old these bones could be, experts say they could range anywhere from 20,000 to 60,000 years old.

Wayne McEwen stated in a press release regarding the find on his property, "We were very excited to discover the mammoth in our sand pit and realize it was 90 percent complete. One of the greatest joys in this whole thing was to meet and see the excitement on the faces of the many volunteers."

The initial discovery of the bones was made back in May of this year by McEwen's son and grandson as they went about their daily work on the ranch. Apparently, as they were using a piece of digging equipment in a gravel pit, the digging arm came to a stop unexpectedly. What had happened was that the digger had run into one of the mammoth's giant tusks. 

Colleen Walker, CEO of the Perot Museum said that, "Having been found in our own backyard, this stunning example of a mammoth skeleton is especially meaningful because it's a part of our heritage and the natural history of North Texas."

She also stated that the museum was moved by the "enormous generosity" of the McEwen family for "sharing this discovery with us and the world." 

Experts think the mammoth remains are those of a female. Mammoths like this one probably stood nearly 10 feet tall and weighed the same around as an elephant. Researchers have also ascertained that the mammoth came to rest on its left side when it died. The bones are so well preserved that "even an untrained eye can make out the different parts of the skeleton," reports the Chronicle. Apparently, the skull, lower jaw, back and neck vertebrae, ribs and pelvis are all easily distinguishable.

The dig's director, Tom Vance, released as statement regarding the find: "I am extremely excited about this outstanding find. It's very unique for North Central Texas," he said. "What is so meaningful is to know that this animal walked through our backyard thousands of years ago." 

According to reports, the mammoth remains will be moved to their new permanent home at the Perot museum this September. 

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