The bones were found by two workers during an evening shift at the Little Narrows Gypsum Quarry, located on Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia, Canada.
The Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources was contacted the following day and the bones were moved to the Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History in Halifax where staff immediately began to work on protecting them from damage.
The bones are estimated to be between 10,500 to 80,000 years old and include a 60cm shin bone and nine bone fragments. Museum assistant curator Kathy Ogden was ?quite sure? that they belonged to a mastadon as their size and shape were consistent with museum information on the extinct mammals, further speculating that they could be from a juvenile. She labelled the bones a ?significant finding? as the museum only houses two other mastadon specimens.
Mastadon bones were also found at the National Gypsum Quarry in East Millford, Nova Scotia in 1991 and 1993.
Bob Grantham, the Nova Scotia Museum?s retired curator of geology, explained that gypsum quarries make perfect time capsules.
?They [the quarries] collapse, forming a sinkhole, then the sinkholes fill with clay and mud and become ponds or small lakes, and mastodons walking along get stuck,? he said.
While the recently discovered mastadon bones are expected to remain within the museum system, Ogden said that public viewings around the province could be a possibility.
Source: The Chronicle Herald, CTV News Atlantic, National Gypsum