Bones On The Beach

Wednesday, November 23, 2011 - 12:46pm

Ancient mastodon bones uncovered at Daytona Beach construction site.

Scientists confirmed Tuesday that prehistoric animal bones found at a Daytona Beach, Florida construction site were that of a Mastodon -- a large mammal belonging to the Ice Age.

Crews working at a storm water project off Nova Road found the ancient bones Friday, and officials said they have shut down the construction site to preserve the discovery.

According to scientists, the fossilized mastodon was between 13,000 and 150,000 years old.

The tusked mammal would have weighed several tons, like a prehistoric elephant.

“We're finding some significant pieces -- tusks and vertebrae. We don't know completely what's down there yet, so it gets more exciting the more we dig,” Zach Zacharias, of the Museum of Arts and Sciences, said.

Whether there is a full or a partial skeleton, or even more than one creature is still unclear, but scientists said more and more bones have been emerging.

“Mastodons were big, hairy animals,” Zacharias said.

Teacher and amateur paleontologist Don Brunning and his wife are local experts the museum relies on, and he said the mastodon would have been a contemporary of the giant ground sloth, which was also uncovered locally.

“They were all hanging out and eating during that epoch because we had super fauna and super flora blooming all over the place,” Brunning said.

Scientists said that it’s possible that man hunted mastodons to extinction, though a changing environment may have also played a major role.

Now, man is hunting for his remains to help tell the story of its past life on earth.

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