LIMA TOWNSHIP, Mich. — A barn in southeastern Michigan suddenly has become a natural history museum since bones from a woolly mammoth were discovered by a farmer while he was digging in a soybean field.
More than 200 people have stopped at Jim Bristle’s farm in Washtenaw County, west of Ann Arbor, since Friday. They’ve been driving into Chelsea, the closest town, and asking for directions.
“I’m just so glad to see the enthusiasm, and it’s not just from the kids,” Bristle told MLive Ann Arbor. “The adults who come out here are overwhelmed by this. I guess I’m a bit overwhelmed by it also.”
Scientists from the University of Michigan and an excavator recovered about 20 percent of the animal’s skeleton last week in Lima Township. Aside from the pelvis, they found the skull and two tusks, along with numerous vertebrae, ribs and both shoulder blades from a woolly mammoth that lived up to 15,000 years ago.
Judy Coleman pulled her second-grade granddaughter out of school Monday to see the muddy skeleton in Bristle’s barn.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be this close to something like this,” she said.
Bristle said he’s donating the discovery to the university.
“I’d like it to go to a place where more people can see it and we can learn more about history from it,” he said. “Really it’s just the right thing to do.”