A North Texas family is donating a nearly complete skeleton of an ancient mammoth discovered in a gravel pit on their property to a science museum. The remarkable find happened in May on the Ellis County property of Wayne McEwen. His son, Marty McEwen, and grandson, Ethan Beasley, were working on a gravel pit on the land in when McEwen’s excavator hit something unusual. Beasley dug through the dirt and came upon a 6-foot tusk. A group of volunteers was called in to do more careful digging, and they eventually unearthed enough bones to form a near-complete skeleton of a Mammuthus columbi, or Columbian mammoth. The species ranged through the southern half of North America and south into Mexico before becoming extinct approximately 12,500 years ago.
The McEwens are donating the specimen, described as “incredibly pristine,” to the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas. The museum estimates the remains are 20,000 to 60,000 years old.