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Mastodon bones unearthed in southern Indiana donated to Indiana State Museum

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Mastodon bones recently unearthed in southern Indiana are now at the Indiana State Museum in Indianapolis.

The bones, which belonged to a mastodon dubbed “Alfred,” were found by crews working on a sewer project at a Seymour farm in early April.

The bones include two limbs and part of a skull and tusk. At this time, it’s estimated that the mastodon died between 10,000 and 13,000 years ago and stood about 9 to 9 ½ feet tall.

The bones arrived at the museum Monday, where they’ll be processed and join the institution collection, which has more mastodons and mammoths from different localities than any other museum in the Midwest.

The bones will go through various processes for research and preservation purposes over the next year. The museum says a lot of information will be collected throughout that time, and a sample has already been sent out to establish an accurate date.

“Ice Age paleontology is a center of excellence for the museum,” said Susannah Koerber, chief curator and research officer for the Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites. “We are grateful that the family chose to donate the bones and for their continued interest in research around the find.”

According to the museum, it’s somewhat unusual to find bones of this quality in southern Indiana because of the nature of the soil in that region, and this specimen could provide important information to the continued study of Ice Age Indiana.

The bones will eventually be available for future exhibition, though it’s unclear when. Currently, visitors can learn about and see a variety of Ice Age skeletons – including Fred, one of the most complete mastodons unearthed in Indiana – in the museum’s Frozen Reign experience.

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