Amateur paleontologist finds mammoth bones

Thursday, June 16, 2011

A man who never formally studied paleontology has discovered the fossilized bones of an ancient mammoth along a riverbank near Santa Fe, N.M., scientists say.
Douglas Carmody discovered animal bone fragments, including a weighty chunk of jawbone with cracked remnants of teeth, along the Galisteo River, the Albuquerque Journal reported Sunday.

Carmody, who never formally studied paleontology but used to buy college textbooks on the subject, said he knew it had to be ancient.

"I've been doing this all my life, and you wouldn't believe some of the stuff we have down here," he said.

Carmody said he suspected he had found mastodon bones, and he's probably not far off, scientists said.

New Mexico Office of Archaeological Studies Deputy Director Robert Dello-Russo said the jawbone more likely belonged to a mammoth, one of the mastodon's Ice Age contemporaries.

Both are large-tusked mammals that have been extinct for thousands of years, he said.

Mammoths had vanished in North America by 10,000 years ago, he said.

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