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U-M Museum Seeks Help To Preserve Mammoth Remains

Apr 19, 2016

  

U-M Ph. D. candidate Joe El-Adli holding one of the mammoth vertebrae recovered during the October excavation.

The University of Michigan's Museum of Natural History is asking the public to help build one of its new exhibits.

 It has launched a crowdfunding campaign to help cover the costs of displaying the preserved remains of a mammoth donated to the museum last year.  The remains were found by Jim Bristle, a Chelsea farmer on his property in October.  He contacted the University of Michigan and a team of paleontologists and researchers uncovered much of the body of what they believe was a 6 to 7 ton Mammoth that was likely buried there up to 15,000 years ago.

The museum's director, Amy Harris, explains that some of the new funds would be used include interactive 3D models of the remains and other touchable components so that people look at remains more closely.

The museum's crowdfunding campaign is an effort to finish building upon funds raised at the end of 2015 to hire a specialist to work on the exhibit, which they expect should take an additional $12,000 for the exhibit. 

Harris says they'd also use the funds to design educational programs for school field trips and education programming.  Nearly $4,000 has already been raised in the campaign at the time of publication.  Since the October 2015 discovery, U-M paleontologists have learned the mammoth was a large male, about 45 years of age, and was probably a hybrid between a woolly mammoth and a Columbian mammoth.

The researchers also believe the mammoth was butchered by humans for its meat, and it was stored in what was once a pond near Chelsea.  They expect that it will still take many months to complete their research on the remains, and for the bones to dry before it is finally put out on display.

 

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— Taylor Pinson is WEMU's local All Things Considered producer and studio engineer. Contact WEMU News at 734.487.3363 or email him at tpinson1@emich.edu

 Editor's note: An earlier version of this story aired on Friday, April 15th during All Things Considered with WEMU's Lisa Barry.