ASYLUM TOWNSHIP, BRADFORD COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — It was the find of a lifetime. It happened 38 years ago in Asylum Township Bradford County near Wyalusing.
In this week’s Eyewitness to History, we go back into our archives to 1983. Where workers at Spring Lake, Bradford County doing excavation work, made a very unusual discovery. Sue Miller has the story.
“Imagine this wild woolly elephant-like creature roaming through Bradford County. It did twelve-thousand years ago, and the evidence is right here at spring lake.”
“Mammoth bones were unearthed and discovered by construction crews working on dredging the lake in May. And now archaeological experts are converging on the dig to unearth the ancient bones,” said Sue Miller.
“I guess short and sweet it is an elephant. It is known as a mammoth. Further study back at the lab will tell us which sub-species, what kind of a mammoth it was. There are two good guesses.
It is either a woolly mammoth or a Jefferson mammoth. One of which was more of an indicator of cold weather than the other.” said Allen McGrady, Scientific Preparetor Carnegie Museum of Natural History.
“Mcgrady and his crew from the Carnegie Museum of Natural History are working from sunup to sundown, carefully scraping away each layer of clay to get to the skeleton.
Then they will take it back to Pittsburgh for further study. But all the pieces to the skeleton puzzle aren’t there. A giant toe bone was found, yet none of the limbs have been discovered,” explained Miller.
“Right now all we have is an isolated toe bone, two isolated toe bones, and vertebra and ribs. I’m sure it’s the best mammoth, not the best mastodon, but it is certainly the best mammoth, so far, in Pennsylvania,” said McGrady.
“The archaeologists are also searching for an arrowhead or some kind of manmade weapon, that would prove that humans also walked through the area twelve thousand years ago. That says McGrady would be the find of a lifetime,” said Miller.
It was later determined to be a Jefferson woolly mammoth. Published online reports from eleven years ago called the finding the most important excavation in Pennsylvania history. The woolly mammoth continues to pop up in the news in a sort of science-fiction way.
There are scientists today who are investing millions in an attempt to bring the woolly mammoth back from extinction.