Scientists have found remains of a second mammoth at a dig site, something researchers said is a rare occurrence.
Researchers recently uncovered the glenoid cavities — shoulder bones — of two distinct mammoths and fragments of a tusk at the dig site.
Dr. Jim North of William Penn University said the find is significant.
“There are few sites in the Midwest that have more than two mammoths,” he said. “We’re thinking that there are two separate organisms that died here.”
What really makes the find significant is that the remains of the animals' environment also were found with the fossilized bones.
“The rarity is that we found them where they lived,” said Dave Brenzel of the Indian Creek Nature Center. “Two were entombed in their environment.”
The remains were discovered in Mahaska County, which is located about 60 miles southeast of Des Moines.
The fossils were found with remains of trees, such as spruce and fur, that existed when the mammoths lived and the species continue to grow today.
“It’s a cool Ice Age site,” Brenzel said.
Researchers have dug about 10 to 12 feet down and uncovered the fossils and remains of the mammoths’ environment.
Details for this story were provided by The Oskaloosa (Iowa) Herald.