Mastodon skeleton remover is under way at U. of Michigan

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) – Remains of a mastodon left unusually back together at the University of Michigan.

The skeleton of the 11,000-year-old female Owosso mastodon was taken apart from spring after having been in the Ann Arbor School’s Natural History Museum since 1947. Crews began to put her legs together in the new biological building next to the museum.

The old elephant-like mammal will eventually stand next to a throw of the male Buesching mastodon found near Fort Wayne, Indiana. Both will be located in the five-story UM Museum of Natural History Museum, which will open to the public in April.

“According to my knowledge, there is no other exhibition anywhere in the world showing an adult male and adult woman mastodon together. So this is a very unusual show in that sense,” said Daniel Fisher, senior University of Michigan palaeontologist at the Mastodon Exhibition .

Buesching mastodon appears as if it’s running, complete with track marks trailing it. The tracks are replicas of those discovered in nearby Saline, Michigan.

Meanwhile, Fisher Owosso will be placed in a standing position, one more biomechanically accurate than it was shown at the former museum. At the time of its original location, just a few years after the end of World War II, the understanding of mastodon was not as advanced as it is today.

“When people come in here you not only have this amazing mastodon couple, you have them with the whales and then you have this five-star atrium with all light,” says museum project manager Lynne Friman, referring to the prehistoric whales who are hanging over the mastodons.

The work of remodeling both mastodons is performed by members of Research Casting International, who proudly wear their “Skeleton Crew” T-shirts at the same time. They are expected to have both mastodons moved into their new home within a few days.

“It’s much easier to disassemble them than to counter them,” said a laughing Fisher, adding: “Destruction is easy.”


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