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Discoverer plans to sell mammoth skeletons over Internet

leg bone
The excavation team pulls a leg bone out of the mud  

October 12, 1999
Web posted at: 2:29 p.m. EDT (1829 GMT)

From Correspondent Ann Kellan

WATKINS GLEN, New York (CNN) -- A pair of unusually well-preserved woolly mammoth skeletons found in a lake in upstate New York will be auctioned to the highest bidder over the Ebay Web site, the fossils' finder says.

Excavators and paleontologists in upstate New York are in the process of digging up what they believe to be at least two woolly mammoth skeletons preserved in a glacier pond for the last 11,000 years.

CNN's Ann Kellan reports on the prehistoric bones found in upstate New York.
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Scientists believe the bones are those of an entire woolly mammoth and the partial remains of a youngster, both of whom got stuck in the mud and drowned.

Excavator Larry Hakes first spotted some of the bones while cleaning out the pond in upstate New York.

"When I actually found them this big, I couldn't believe it," Hakes says.

Cornell University scientists think there are more than 200 bones buried in the mud. They say the find is unusual because of the way the bones were preserved.

The mud pit is a drained pond formed during the ice ages that became highly acidic over the centuries, pickling the bones.

The acidity of the glacier pond helped preseve the remains  

The mammoths disappeared from the region about 10,000 years ago, at the same time as the mastodon. The two giants have similar bones, but finding the teeth would confirm the find. A woolly's teeth look like those of today's elephants, while a mastodon has more human-shaped teeth.

Hakes dismisses any suggestion that it is wrong for fossils to be used for private interests instead of going to research.

"The landowners, it's their property and it's their choice to do anything they want as Americans," he says.

The asking price for the specimens: $4.5 million.

Day in the Life of a Wooly Mammoth
Mammoth Saga
Virtual Mammoth Project!
Wooly Mammoth - Pleistocene Epoch
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