STILLWATER, Okla. – A massive discovery near Enid could shed more light on a time when mammoths grazed Oklahoma plains.
The mammoth bones were uncovered by workers installing a natural gas line northwest of Enid.
The Oklahoma Archaeological Survey offered Tom Cox the opportunity to study the site. He and his team have been working there since August, carefully carting every last piece back to the lab at Oklahoma State University.
“This is a dream come true,” Cox said.
Experts believe the mammoth is 50,000 years old and is not a Woolly mammoth, but an Imperial or Columbia mammoth that roamed the Great Plains during prehistoric times.
“Oh it’s cool! It’s awesome, I’ve brought my wife out for the first visit, I’ve tried to encourage my son to come out. I think maybe he’ll come out over the weekend,” Dale Lightfoot, professor and head of Geology Department at OSU, said.
Students are also helping with the excavation and some are still in shock they were hand-picked for the work.
“It’s a really cool experience that only happens once and since I’m a sophomore, I’m thinking it’s for PHD, Master students and I was like the only undergrad,” Geography major Taylor Iberosi said. “I’m like ‘Why aren’t more people out here?’ This is amazing! Only a once in a lifetime kind of thing.”
Students will also help put the skeleton back together. OSU officials say they plan to eventually put the completed mammoth on display at the university.
Cox is hoping to finish the excavation this weekend.
“Seeing and touching something that’s been laying under the ground for tens of thousands years that used to be a part of huge herds of mammoths wandering the area and to experience it like that, on a personal level, is pretty unique,” Lightfoot said.