Fair   89.0F  |  Forecast »

Macomb County Boys Find Mastodon Bone

Southeast Michigan cousins Eric Stamatin and Andrew Gainariu discover a cool, incredibly old artifact in a Shelby Township creek

Eric Stamatin and Andrew Gainariu can cross "make a prehistoric discovery" off their bucket lists. What the 11-year-old boys thought was a strange rock turned out to be the bone of an honest-to-goodness mastodon.

The cousins made their discovery in June of 2012 at the creek near Eric's Shelby Township home. The boys were cray fishing and decided to make a small dam out of sticks and stones. That's when they spotted a particularly weird rock sticking out of the water.

"We were very curious about it," Eric told Metro Parent. After his dad suspected it was an animal part of some sort, the hunt for answers was on.

Ultimately, they found their way to John Zawiskie, a geologist at Cranbrook Institute of Science in Bloomfield Hills, who took a look in November. He concluded it was the axial bone from an adult mastodon's spinal column.

"Our estimate on the bone is somewhere between 13,000 and 14,000" years old, Zawiskie says, noting the furry elephant-like animals went extinct 10,000 to 11,000 years ago.

Eric's reaction when he heard that news? "Wow, that's amazing!" he recalls. "We thought we were going to be celebrities." Now, national and international news outlets are covering the boys' discovery.

"We were totally in awe," says Eric's mom, Cristina Stamatin – who notes that the family is thinking of hanging onto it. "It's so precious. There's no price on it."

It's a classic "feel-good story," adds Zawiskie. "It's two kids exploring on the landscape and finding a treasure. How many of us have thought about doing that?"

Add your comment:
Advertisement

More »Latest Articles & Blog Posts

5 Tips to Get Your Kids Interested in Cooking

5 Tips to Get Your Kids Interested in Cooking

From picking out ingredients to concocting their own culinary creations, here are a few ways to encourage your children to help out in the kitchen.

Family Picnic Recipes and Ideas

Family Picnic Recipes and Ideas

Head to the park or on a hike and make the great outdoors your dinner spot. Here are six ideas to help you plan your meal – from drink to dessert.

Book Review: Three Fun Summer Craft Reads for the Family

Book Review: Three Fun Summer Craft Reads for the Family

Want a few simple, fun sewing ideas for the kids, projects to brighten up their rooms or maybe just tips for DIY tinkering? These authors have you covered.

Dad Claims African Land, Declares Daughter is a Princess

Dad Claims African Land, Declares Daughter is a Princess

A father from Virginia claims a patch of desert in Egypt, calls it the Kingdom of North Sudan – just so his daughter can be the princess of this region.

Spray-on Sunscreen Warnings for Kids: FDA Investigates Safety

Spray-on Sunscreen Warnings for Kids: FDA Investigates Safety

Parents might want to think twice before using this alternative to lotion sunscreen as the Food and Drug Administration investigates its potential risks.

DIY Accessories: Puppets, Sandals, Ninja Turtles and Hoodie

DIY Accessories: Puppets, Sandals, Ninja Turtles and Hoodie

If you're looking for a fun decorative summer vacation family project or two, these four blog picks will get you and your kids off to a great start.

The Importance of Raising Risk-Taking Children

The Importance of Raising Risk-Taking Children

Parents want to protect their kids from failing or getting hurt, but that's impossible. In fact, it's critical to let them take risks. Here's why – and how to raise a risk taker.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement