Scientists have confirmed that road crews unearthed the remains of a mastodon, an elephantlike mammal that became extinct shortly after humans arrived in the Great Lakes region between 10,000 and 12,000 years ago.
Researchers from the Cranbrook Institute of Science sifted through the site Monday in search of more remains, The Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press reported. They confirmed that the remains belonged to a mastodon.
The crews were working Friday with the Road Commission for Oakland County when they discovered the remains. The fossils included a partial tusk, several limb bones, a tooth, portions of the shoulder blade, skull fragments and many ribs and vertebrae, the Cranbrook Institute said.
The institute said that the latest find, now known as the Adams Mastodon, was a mature individual that likely died between 10,000 and 13,000 years ago. The mastodon was preserved in a shallow lakebed, beside the cones of ancient white spruce trees. Spruce forests and parkland were the preferred habitat of the American mastodon at the end of the last Ice Age.
Officials have said the remains of more than 250 mastodons have been discovered in Michigan.
The institute said the public would be allowed to watch staff scientists clean the mastodon bones this week outside the museum in Bloomfield Hills, Mich.
This report includes information from The Associated Press and MSNBC.com.