College football season may be over in the US, but that hasn't stopped an ancient creature from making a very impressive touchdown at Oregon State University in Corvallis.
The stadium is undergoing renovations that required the end zone to be dug up. Amid the mud and dirt, the construction crew found a large femur bone assumed to be from a mammoth. The discovery of the bone on Monday halted work at the site.
So far, there are no signs of any ancient human activity or human bones in the end zone.
The mammoth leg is part of a treasure trove of bones found by the construction crew at the site. The same place that now hosts herds of sports fans and college athletes dressed to the hilt in protective gear was likely a watering hole more than 10,000 years ago.
"Animals who were sick would often go to a body of water and die there, so it's not unusual to find a group of bones like this," said Loren Davis, associate professor of anthropology at OSU.
The stadium is located in the Willamette Valley, an area that once hosted a rich diversity of life, including mammoths, mastodons, giant ground sloths and other large Ice Age animals. Still, it's not every day you discover part of a mammoth leg in a sports stadium.
Some of the bones found under the turf are well-preserved, but others are just fragments. Further study should reveal the origins of the bones and a more exact age for the pieces.
OSU's mascot is the beaver, but maybe it's time to change that to the Fighting Mammoths.