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An up-close look at the mastodon bones discovered in Kent Co.

A crew was doing drain work in Kent County when they made a historic discovery — mastodon bones that are at least 11,000 years old.

KENT COUNTY, Mich — While crews worked on a large-scale drain project in Kent County, they discovered something pretty historic.

At least 11,000-year-old mastodon bones were unearthed on Friday, and now they're headed to their future home, the Grand Rapids Public Museum (GRPM). 

Today, 13 ON YOUR SIDE got to see the bones up-close. They are being held at the GRPM's collections facility, but experts say it could take some time before they are put on display. 

"Over the next year, year and a half, we're going to slowly dry the bones out," said Cory Redman, a science curator with the Grand Rapids Public Museum.

"We're going to keep track of any mold build-up and take care of that, we're also going to apply any glue or adhesives that are needed just to make sure it's good and stable and then hopefully in a year, year and a half, we can put the whole skeleton in an exhibit so people can come see it."

Due to the nature of the skeleton, the display won't be in 3D standing form, but laid out for people to see.

Kent County Drain Commissioner Ken Yonker was left in complete surprise Friday afternoon when crews discovered the bones.

Yonker was in a meeting when he got the picture. And when he looked at it, he said, "That's sure not a horse."

It was one of his engineers who texted him that it was mastodon bones. 

It took a while for the news to sink in, but when it did, the excitement continued to build amongst them. 

And the excitement had reached new heights when the discovery was confirmed by the University of Michigan. When that verification came, Yonker said, "We got the real thing here."

He hopes that his crews can locate the rest of the animal and not just part of it. Yonker said they've found traces of two different mastodons.

You can keep up to date on the bones' restoration on the GRPM Facebook page here


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