Mammoth, mastodon bones could be in your backyard

14-year-old Scott Sedore found this mastodon tooth in his grandpaâ??s backyard.

â??I keep it in my room,â?? he said. â??My grandpa and I made this box for it.â??

He brought the box to share with people at the Gem, Mineral and Fossil Show underway the Fairfield Arts and Convention Center.

â??Weâ??ve been here at the Convention Center now, this is our fifth show,â?? Chairman Carl McRoy, with the Sac and Fox Lapidary Club said.

Sarah Horgen with the University of Iowa told people more about a mammoth dig that began in June of 2010 after a farmer discovered a 4 ft. long mammoth femur on his property just east of Oskaloosa.

â??We're continuing to find bones,â?? Horgen said. â??We've started excavating in a different direction than we did last year to kind of spread out and get a bigger overview of the site, and so that's been exciting, you know, that things continue to turn up.â??

Over 200 volunteers have gotten involved in this historic, archaeological, scientific adventure.

â??As a club we went out to the dig site ourselves,â?? McRoy said. â??Several of our members went out with the club, and had a great time digging in the mud. A couple of the members actually found some new bones while they were out there.â??

Experts can confirm they have found bones from three mammoths.

â??Itâ??s certainly looking like there are more,â?? Horgen said, â??but itâ??s hard to tell. It takes the right bones to tell us specifically that itâ??s a new individual; whereas if we have a jumble of ribs, or you know other bones that animals have a lot of, itâ??s hard to figure out which bones go to which animal.â??

She explains how these bones are relevant today.

â??If they are towards the end of the last Ice Age, which is what itâ??s looking like, thatâ??s really where we can start to learn a lot about the environment of Iowa at the end of the last Ice Age,â?? she said. â??There was a lot of climate change going on at the end of the Ice Age, and what we learn about what happened 10,000 years ago, may help us learn about whatâ??s happening with the environment and climate today and how animals are reacting to that."