When was the last time that you found something unexpected in your yard? For two farmers on opposite ends of the planet, their random discoveries would turn into archeological breakthroughs. Today, you are going to learn about two farmers, their amazing discoveries, and how these discoveries rocked the scientific community. Are you ready to learn about these amazing scientific discoveries? Let’s begin!
CHRISTMAS MORNING IN ARGENTINA
Our story starts with Jose Antonio Nievas spending his Christmas morning traversing around the perimeter of his ranch. With average winter temperatures hovering in the 70s, Jose’s walk wasn’t anything out of the ordinary. However, after reaching the stream that runs through his farm, Jose would discover something quite unusual!
A STRANGE DISCOVERY
As Jose was finishing his morning walk, the farmer noticed a giant smooth stone sticking from the embankment of his stream. Like something from an Alien movie, Jose knew that he couldn’t just ignore whatever the gigantic rock was. After his curiosity was appropriately elevated, Jose called in some help.
PROBING THE STRANGE ROCK
After realizing that the giant rock was, well, not a rock, Jose decided to clean the object off. The Argentinian farmer knew that he had something special on his hands, but he was too curious to simply let the rock go. Jose attempted to brush the mud off of the object, carefully working so as not to damage the strange item.
REINA COMES TO HELP
By this point in time, Reina, Jose’s wife, was quite interested in what had caught her husband’s attention. As it turns out, Reina had no idea what the giant rock was, either! Despite not knowing what the item was, the two farmers continued to work toward excavating the giant object. Soon the size of the rock was staggering. How heavy was this thing?
THE WORD GETS OUT
Like any small town, Jose and his wife had to deal with onlookers almost as soon as they discovered the giant rock. Soon the local police were on location and then the media was there, as well. Whatever it was that Jose had on his property, Jose knew that he had the entire world watching his every move.
JOSE’S DOG GETS EXCITED
The first sign that something strange was going on happened when Jose’s dog began to growl at the giant stone. If the stone were simply a stone, the dog likely wouldn’t have barked or growled at it. What kind of rock could trigger a dog into agitation? What was really going on here?
WAITING FOR AN ANSWER
As Jose handed off the discovery to the scientific community, something equally fascinating was happening at the same time halfway across the planet! Jose’s amazing discovery would soon be linked to a small town in Michigan. What could we be talking about? Let’s keep our exploration going so that we can bring you the answers!
PLACING A NATURAL GAS LINE
As with some of the greatest discoveries in human history, our story in Michigan features a farmer who just happened to stumble upon something great. James Bristle was living in a small rural community in Michigan when he decided to lay a new natural gas line on his farm. Picking a spot to dig was important because he had to avoid utilities and other subterranean obstacles. Little did James know, his dig site would become important to the scientific community!
THE DIGGING BEGINS
After settling on a spot to dig his natural gas line, James and his crew began to dig. What had started as your typical excavation project would quickly change as James’ backhoe collided with something quite hard. James knew that there shouldn’t be any utilities at the dig location, so what was it that he had hit? What did his backhoe actually collide with?
SOMETHING STRANGE EMERGES
It didn’t take long for James and his team to realize that they were dealing with something a little out of the ordinary. The crew began to dig into the soft soil to see what the excavator had collided with. After digging through the soil for a brief period of time, one of the crew members emerged with what appeared to be a long bone. The bone itself was so large that it wouldn’t match any living animal in the area. What was it?
BACK IN ARGENTINA
As James and his crew were making a fascinating archeological discovery, Jose was ready for the news of a lifetime. After sending in the large rock to be researched and studied, Jose would be told that he had found the fossilized remains of a glyptodon shell! The glyptodon was an animal that looked like an armadillo if armadillos were eleven feet long and five feet tall!
MEET THE GLYPTODON
Can you imagine one of THESE creatures wandering around your farm? The Glyptodon is considered the largest of all ancient armadillos. Isolated to South America, the Glyptodon was roughly the size and weight of a small vehicle. Glyptodons were plant-eaters that were purportedly hunted by humans thousands of years ago. According to researchers, natives may have even used Glyptodon shells as small shelters during bad weather.
BACK IN MICHIGAN
While Jose was making the kind of discovery that would leave Michael Crichton beaming, James and his crew in Michigan were ready for something equally shocking! As the farmers continued to dig away at their natural gas line, the figure of a large creature began to manifest in the mud. Could James really have stumbled upon something rare?
A FIGURE EMERGES
As the depth of the hole reached ten feet, James and his team were blown away by what they had found. Nestled in the mud, clear as day, was the outline of a skeleton. What this giant creature was, the farmers couldn’t say. All that James knew was that he had found something older than old. What could it be?
MICHIGAN BUZZES WITH RUMOR
Just like with any other small town, James quickly had the attention of his friends and neighbors. As you can see, the hole that James had dug for a natural gas line had changed in shape, depth, and utility. You can just barely make out the fossilized remains of our mystery creature to the left of the kneeling figure in this picture.
IDENTIFICATION AT LAST
What had once been a simple dig site had turned into a true archeological exploration of the earth. By this point in time, James and his crew could clearly outline what appeared to be a massive skull. With two protruding tusks roughly the length of an adult male, it was easy to guess which creature this was. Can you guess what we are looking at?
With a powerful truck and some sturdy straps, James and his team revealed what was clearly the head of a Woolly Mammoth. The Woolly Mammoth lived on Earth in relatively peaceful coexistence with humans. Like massive elephants with even larger tusks, the Woolly Mammoth was hunted for food and utility as their tusks made ideal tools and dwellings.
FOSSILES AND FARMERS
Isn’t it strange what we can run into during our day-to-day lives? James and Jose were two regular farmers on opposite ends of the planet simply going about their day. With one stroke of the metaphorical shovel, their lives changed and science applauded them. From Woolly Mammoths to Glyptodons, it seems like fragments of the planet’s history are everywhere should we only think to look!