Construction crews working this week on an expansion of the Valley Football Center at Oregon State University in Corvallis uncovered a large femur bone, likely from a mammoth that lived more than 10,000 years ago. Further digging in the north end zone of the football facility revealed more bones from several extinct mammals, university officials say.
More testing will be carried out to determine the bones’ exact age, the university says in a news release.
“There are quite a few bones, and dozens of pieces,” says Loren Davis, an associate professor of anthropology who was called to the site after the discovery was made. "Some of the bones are not in very good shape, but some are actually quite well preserved."
A worker digging in the area made the initial discovery of the large femur bone and immediately stopped work in the area. Crews have moved to other areas of the construction project while Davis and others take a closer look at the find.
The discovery of the ancient mammal bones is not unusual in the Willamette Valley, Davis says. The bones, including mammoth, bison and some kind of camel or horse, were discovered in a 10-foot deep plot in an area that could once have been a bog or marsh.
Crews are digging up a portion of the north end zone as part of the Valley Football Center expansion and renovation project. Work began after the fall football season ended and is slated to be finished for the 2016 season.