2 boys find mastodon bone in Michigan backyard

12/12/2012
ASSOCIATED PRESS
Mastodon-Bone-Michigan

Eric Stamatin, left, and Andrew Gainariu stand outside the museum in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. Stamatin, 11, of Shelby Township, and his cousin, Andrew Gainariu, also 11, of Troy, found the mastodon bone over the summer while exploring in Eric's backyard.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Eric Stamatin, left, and Andrew Gainariu stand outside the museum in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. Stamatin, 11, of Shelby Township, and his cousin, Andrew Gainariu, also 11, of Troy, found the mastodon bone over the summer while exploring in Eric's backyard.
Eric Stamatin, left, and Andrew Gainariu stand outside the museum in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. Stamatin, 11, of Shelby Township, and his cousin, Andrew Gainariu, also 11, of Troy, found the mastodon bone over the summer while exploring in Eric's backyard.

SHELBY TOWNSHIP, Mich. — A researcher has confirmed that two 11-year-old boys found a mastodon bone over the summer while exploring a southeast Michigan yard.

The Detroit News reports Eric Stamatin of Macomb County's Shelby Township and his cousin Andrew Gainariu of Troy found the bone near a stream while exploring Eric's backyard. Eric says it looked like a rock, but a hole made them think it was a bone.

A researcher at Cranbrook Institute of Science in Bloomfield Hills confirmed it was an axis bone from an extinct American mastodon, a relative of the elephant. Paleontologist John Zawiskie says the fossil is likely between 13,000 and 14,000 years old.

A search of the area didn't turn up more bones. Zawiskie says there are records of numerous mastodon-related finds in Michigan's Lower Peninsula.