- A six-year-old boy in Michigan has discovered the fossilized tooth of a mastodon
- Julian Gagnon discovers tooth moving with his family at Dinosaur Hill Nature Preserve
- The fossil is roughly the size of a human hand
- About 12,000 years ago, mastodons migrated near the end of the Pleistocene epoch.
A six-year-old boy in Michigan has discovered a fossilized tooth of a mastodon, an ancient mammal that lived in North and Central America and died out during the last ice age, about 11,000 years ago.
Six-year-old Julian Gagnon made the discovery while walking with his family at Dinosaur Hill Nature Preserve in Rochester Hills, Michigan. WDIV reported.
‘I just felt something in my leg and I grabbed it, and it looked like a dent,’ Gagnon told the news outlet.
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The fossil is roughly the same size as a human hand and was confirmed to be related to an American mastodon by University of Michigan researchers.
The 16-acre woodland preserve has many trails for kids and other visitors to walk and explore.
A six-year-old boy in Michigan has discovered the fossilized tooth of a mastodon at the Dinosaur Hill Nature Preserve
Although few fossils have been discovered in the past, it got its name thanks to the children of the area.
“When additional dirt was being developed in the vicinity of Dinosaur Hill, which was excavated during basement excavations, one area was piled up to form a hill,” the preserve writes of it. Website.
Local children playing on the hill dubbed it ‘Dinosaur Hill’ because it resembled a sleeping dinosaur. When the Nature Preserve was established, the name stuck and Dinosaur Hill Nature Preserve was born.
Julian Gagnon (pictured) explored walking with his family at Dinosaur Hill Nature Preserve in Rochester Hills, Michigan
Gagnon thought that he would be financially rewarded for his discovery, but this did not happen.
‘At first I thought I was going to get the money. I was supposed to get a million dollars. So it’s embarrassing right now,’ Gagnon said.
Experts from the University of Michigan Museum of Paleontologists confirmed that the fossilized tooth actually belongs to a mastodon.
The 16-acre woodland preserve has many paths for children and other visitors to walk and explore
“Honestly, I’m a little jealous personally, because mining fossils is something I wish I could do every day,” said innocent Abigail Drake of the University of Michigan Museum of Natural History.
Drake said that mastodon fossils — or any fossil for that matter — are rare.
‘When an animal dies it is difficult to preserve it as a fossil, most of the time it is cleaned up.’
“I really wanted to be an archaeologist, but I think it was a sign that I was going to be a paleontologist,” Gagan told WDIV.
Mastodons are ancient relatives of elephants and mammoths that were believed to have been decimated by humans. They were among the largest land animals on Earth at the time, measuring 10 feet in length and weighing 8 tons or more.
Mastodons are ancient relatives of elephants and mammoths that were believed to have been decimated by humans.
They were among the largest land animals on Earth at the time, measuring 10 feet in length and weighing 8 tons or more.
Mastodon migrated around the end of the Pleistocene epoch, about 12,000 years ago.
Earlier experts believed that mastodons lived in arctic and subarctic regions covered by ice caps.
However, they now believe that these regions were only temporary, due to the significantly warmer climate before their extinction.
They lived in forests and wetlands that were full of leafy food.
According to recent radiocarbon dating of mastodon fossils, it is widely believed that they disappeared before humans colonized the region.
In September 2020, gold miners in Colombia discovered the remains of a mastodon, including a 3.5-foot-long tooth.
Two months later, a mastodon tooth was discovered by a Missouri teenager in the Grand River.
Why did Mastodon become extinct?
Radiocarbon dating of North American fossils suggests that mastodons died out before humans hunted them to extinction.
Humans have long been blamed for hunting the American mastodon – an ancient relative of the elephant – to extinction.
Experts are still not sure why the animals died out, but now think that changing habitats from forests to the tundra may have played a role.
When the climate was warmer, the Arctic and Subarctic were only temporary homes for mastodons, according to new international study
But new data suggests that mastodons went extinct in pockets of eastern Beringia about 75,000 years ago, following a habitat shift from forest to tundra.
Mastodon occupied high latitudes between 125,000 and 75,000 years ago when it was covered with forests.
But ecological changes led to habitat loss and population collapse.
Back then, mastodons were confined to regions south of the continental ice sheets, where the first humans suffered a complete extinction in the 10,000 years before the Bering Strait – or the start of Pleistocene climate change.
The study says that the local extinction of the mastodon was ‘independent’; Due to their subsequent extinction in the south of the ice.