GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Mastodon bones found in Kent County last year will go on display this weekend at the Grand Rapids Public Museum.
The bones were discovered in August along 22 Mile Road, near the border of Kent and Newaygo counties. Cory Redman, a science curator for the museum, was not aware of what to expect when he headed to the site.
“Whenever you’re digging, you never know what you’re going to find,” Redman said.
When he arrived at the property owned by the Clapp Family, Redman found that the bones were from a mastodon that died more than 13,000 years ago.
“Everybody was super excited and was like, ‘What can I do to help to preserve this animal?'” Redman said.
Crews were able to recover 75% to 80% of a full skeleton.
“We had people from all departments in the museum come out and help because it was kind of all hands on deck,” Redman said.
A majority of the Clapp Family Mastodon bones are still going through a drying process. Redman believes it should take around a year to have all the bones ready to display, but the mastodon’s jaw and a part of its arm are part of the museum’s new exhibit.
“We’re super excited to be able to put a couple of the bones out to show people because we know how much interest there is and that’s fantastic. But we also want to set expectations, right? It’s not the entire skeleton,” Redman said.
The Ice Age and Snow Exhibits were planned years in advance.
“Well it fits perfectly. Like, it’s almost like it’s meant to be,” Redman said.
Kent County Drain Commissioner Ken Yonker was happy the bones are staying in West Michigan.
“This is part of our culture here, part of who we are and what happened in our past. And this has to stay here. This is part of us,” Yonker said.
The exhibits are open to the public starting Saturday.