The partygoers stumbled across the skull this week, complete with its tusks, buried in sand at
Morgan led a team that spent some six hours on Thursday carefully excavating the fossil, which was buried in about four feet (1.2 meters) of lake silt.
When it emerged, it was found to measure approximately 5 feet by 3 feet (1.5 by 1 meters) and weighed more than 1,000 pounds (450 kg).
"This mastodon find is older than the woolly mammoth that tread the Earth in the Ice Age. ... It probably died on a sandbar of the ancient
"I've been here for 20 years and have never seen something like this before."
Mastodons were relatives of the elephant that stood 10 feet (3 meters) tall and migrated to
Morgan said the unusual discovery came to light after some water was drained from the
He said the meticulous process of cleaning the fossil would now likely take his team some six months before they could then begin examining it more closely.
The museum will put the fossil on public display, he said, but probably not for a year while those studies take place. "This is too important to keep stored in the back," he said.
View the entire story at NBC News.