'Hey, Derek. I found something!' Oh my goodness!'
On April 25th, two Florida scuba divers found quite the hidden gem: a four-foot-long, 50-pound bone hiding in the river bed of Peace River near Arcadia, Florida. Once they unearthed it and brought it to the surface, the pair were shocked to realize that their exciting discovery was the bone of a Columbian mammoth, likely from the Ice Age!
This was not the first discovery by the Florida divers in our local Peace River.
Location of Peace River in Arcadia, FloridaGoogle Maps
Derek Demeter and Henry Sadler consider themselves to be amateur paleontologists. Derek Demeter is the Seminole State Planetarium's Director. Henry Sadler is a teacher.
Their scuba dives are frequently filled with all sorts of interesting discoveries, such as bones, teeth, and different types of preserved matter. This discovery happened in Peace River, near Arcadia, a small city south of Tampa Bay. It just goes to show, you never know what you may find in our own local waters.
In fact, on the same day as the mammoth bone discovery, they also bagged the tooth of a saber-tooth tiger and a long-extinct shark! How neat is that?
Though it's safe to say that the mammoth bone is by far the biggest (and coolest?) of the discoveries they made yet. They estimate it to be about 100,000 years old based on the density of the bone.
Where is the mammoth bone now?
ClassroomPhoto by CDC on Unsplash
Many of the dynamic duo's discoveries have ended up in the popular and respected museum: the Florida Museum of Natural History. However, the mammoth bone has a different fate: the education and inspiration for kids. Its current resting place will be in Henry Sadler's classroom, where he can let the kids interact with it and get an authentic feel of the natural world and our largely unseen history. And what a great contribution to the community that is!
The amazing find will bring to life the creatures that most kids have only seen in TV, movies, or textbooks. For young kids, this can be an absolutely magical experience. Hopefully, it will inspire them to take an interest in the rich history of our world, and perhaps become amateur paleontologists themselves one day.