Story at a glance

  • Amateur paleontologists Derek Demeter and Henry Sadler found the 4-foot, 50-pound bone last week while scuba diving in the Peace River in Arcadia, Fla.
  • The bone belonged to a species called the Columbian mammoth.
  • The species roamed the Earth between 2.6 million and 10,000 years ago.

Two Florida scuba divers discovered a large mammoth bone that may date back to the ice age while diving in a river in Southwest Florida last week, according to The Orlando Sentinel

Amateur paleontologists Derek Demeter and Henry Sadler found the 4-foot, 50-pound bone that could be tens of thousands of years old while diving in the Peace River in Arcadia, Fla., on April 25. 


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The bone belonged to a species called the Columbian mammoth that inhabited North America as far north as the northern U.S. and as far south as Costa Rica during the Pleistocene epoch, between 2.6 million and 10,000 years ago, according to the news outlet. 

The species was one of the last in the line of mammoth species. 

“[Henry] came up, and he’s like, ‘Derek, I found something amazing,’ and he’s just freaking out,” Demeter, who is the planetarium director at Seminole State College, told The Orlando Sentinel.

“When I saw it, I couldn’t believe it. I was in denial. It was really neat to see that be discovered,” he said. 

The two have also dug up a number of other bones, including parts of an extinct shark and the tooth of a saber-tooth tiger on the same day as the mammoth find and have donated specimens to the Florida Museum of Natural History. 

The mammoth bone, however, will end up in a classroom where Sadler teaches. 

“It’s currently sitting in the classroom where the kids are able to see it, touch it, feel it and really get a history of the natural world,” Sadler said. 


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Published on May 03, 2021