University Uncovers Mammoth Remains First Found by Construction Crew

It started off as a regular work day- until this crew made a prehistoric discovery of mammoth proportions.

Shutterstock/ LuFeeTheBear

Months ago, an excavation crew working for Knife River Corp. near Prineville, Oregon made the discovery of a lifetime when they stumbled upon the buried remains of a prehistoric creature.

“Something looked a little funny in the ground,” Reid Comstock, a member of the crew, told the East Oregonian. “I grabbed a couple of guys to see what we had discovered.”

“What they had discovered” turned out to be the fossilized bones of a mammoth, now-extinct creatures that roamed the North American continent 10,000 years ago.

“I have been doing this work my whole life, and you always believe you might find something. It’s just a once in a lifetime opportunity,” said Comstock.

The crew contacted Craig Woodward, the owner of the worksite, to inform him of their discovery. Woodward then contacted Eastern Oregon University, his alma mater. The crew returned the fossils to the ground and reburied them, keeping the specific location of the site a secret to the public.

In October, the site was re-opened by faculty and students from EOU working alongside the crew who made the initial discovery. The group from the university was able to recover a number of mammoth bones over the course of a five day dig, including the creatures tusks, cranium and several of its vertebrae. The bones are now undergoing a stabilization process that will help keep them preserved.

“It’s always amazing to see something like that — this huge creature that’s no longer on the planet,” said Joe Corsini, a biology professor from EOU who worked on the site. “I always feel a little bit of awe.”

The EOU faculty expect that the discovery will provide the university with up to five research papers as well as an opportunity for capstone projects and conference presentations.

“This was a once-in-a-lifetime thing for the students involved, and it was provided by the Woodward family,” said anthropology professor Rory Becker. “And the Knife River guys were awesome. We wouldn’t have gotten it here without them. They are expert operators and worked well with the students.”

This isn’t the only odd thing construction crews have uncovered. Check out this story.