Saranac golf course the site of mammoth excavation

7:31 AM, May 4, 2010   |    comments
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Saranac (WZZM)-Michigan scientists are trying to piece together a major find that dates back 11-thousand years ago. The elephant-like animal, known as a mammoth, was discovered at a golf course along Morrison Lake, near Saranac.

"I told them, for my luck, it was probably a rock and I don't want to waste your time", says Dixie Riley, owner of Morrison Lake Country Club. That's what she told scientists at the University of Michigan. The call turned out to be well worth their time. "They found a tusk, vertebrae and determined it was a 6-ton mammoth."

It all started in August of 2009, when an employee at the club discovered a mammoth's tooth. Since then, Scott Beld, Ph.D. from U of M's Museum of Paleontology has been excavating the sight for more bones. "We probably have 50 to 75 bones represented. There are 260 bones in the animal."

Given the size of the tusk, Beld believes the bones are from a male Columbian mammoth. The elephant-like animal became extinct over 11-thousand years ago.

Beld says this dig is one of the more interesting ones he's been on. Finding a mammoth is not that common. "In Michigan, most of these elephant-like creatures are mastodons, which are a slightly different animal. There are probably 10 mastodons to one mammoth in Michigan."

The dig, located in the middle of the 1st hole, has become a sight to see for golfers. Dixie and her husband, Charley, have named the mammoth "Morris". His bones will be donated to the university.

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