Mastodon fossil find in Colorado a jaw-dropper |

Mastodon fossil find in Colorado a jaw-dropper

Douglas BrownThe Denver Post

The mastodon spent its days lumbering along the Front Range, chewing leaves. One day it died. During the course of thousands of years, sediment buried the beast.Fast-forward to this summer, when along came Tyler Kellett and Jake Carstensen, 13-year-old best friends. As they played in their favorite stream behind Ken-Caryl Ranch’s community pool, Jake picked up what he first thought was a rock.It wasn’t.The hard nugget in his hand was a mandible – a jaw – from an American mastodon that died between 50,000 and 150,000 years ago. The boys’ find led to the discovery of a 5-foot tusk too, making it the most significant mastodon fossil ever unearthed in Colorado, and the first in 85 years.”It’s the first good record of an American mastodon in Colorado,” said Steve Holen, curator of archaeology at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. “This is way outside of the range for mastodons. It’s the first record we have of more than just one tooth. Finding out these mastodons were living along the Front Range is an important scientific find.”Among other things, the fossil suggests that when the mastodon died, the Front Range had “quite a few trees and brush,” Holen said. For more of this Denver Post story:

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