Two 11-year-old boys will go down in Macomb County's artifact history after discovering an American Mastodon bone near 24 Mile and Dequindre roads in Shelby Township, Michigan.
Eric Stamatin, 11, left, and his cousin, Andrew Gainarlu, 11, are pictured in front of Cranbrook Institute of Science with the Mastodon bone they discovered in Shelby Township. Credit Cranbrook Institute
It’s nearly every young, adventurous boy’s dream to stumble upon a prehistoric fossil while playing in his backyard.
For an 11-year-old Shelby Township boy, Eric Stamatin and his cousin Andrew Gainariu, 11, that dream came true this summer.
On a warm June day, the boys were hoping to find crayfish while exploring a stream about a quarter of a mile from Stamatin's house on 24 Mile and Dequindre roads. Instead, they stumbled upon an American Mastodon bone.
“At first it just looked like a rock but it had a hole in it so we thought maybe it was a bone,” said Stamatin.
The boy’s family sent a picture of the bone to Cranbrook Institute to be examined. John Zawiskie geologist with Cranbrook later identified it as the axis bone of the extinct American Mastodon.
“The axis is one of two specialized vertebrae that secure the head to the vertebral column, and judging from the size of this find the animal was probably an adult around 8 or 9 feet high at the shoulders and weighing roughly 6 tons,” said Zawiskie.
The mastodon bone is likely between 13,000 and 14,000 years old. Read more;