When construction workers at Oregon State started digging, all they wanted was to excavate the site of the Beavers’ expanded football facility. Instead, they wound up with the giant femur of a 10,000-year-old mammoth.

From the Corvallis Gazette-Times:

“We believe we have an intact femur from a mammoth,” OSU spokesman Steve Clark said Tuesday afternoon. “There also appear to be bones from other species, including possibly a bison and a camel.”

Mark Massari, deputy athletics director, said the bones were found at the site of what will be the future locker room for the Beavers’ football team.

“Maybe the archaeologist can tell you if it’s good luck,” he said.

An OSU archaeologist removed at least one large bone from the site Tuesday afternoon. Nearby on the turf of the field was a pile of dirt removed from the site, which Massari said contained fragments the university was going to let archaeology students sift through. 

“They’re really giddy because usually when they find these things they have to drive three hours to get to them,” he said.

Construction apparently continued on the scene, but Oregon State is treating the area as a paleontological scene. Because no human remains were found, the location is not considered an archeological site and therefore not protected under Oregon law.

The site could once have been a bog or marsh, anthropology professor Loren Davis told the Gazette-Times, explaining that “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.”

It’s pretty cool that this football stadium project accidentally resulted in a pretty awesome paleontological discovery. Then again, knowing the single-mindedness of football coaches, Gary Andersen is probably angry this mammoth had the nerve to delay the school’s football-stadium project.

[Corvallis Gazette-Times]

About Alex Putterman

Alex is a writer and editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. He has written for The Atlantic, VICE Sports, MLB.com, SI.com and more. He is a proud alum of Northwestern University and The Daily Northwestern. You can find him on Twitter @AlexPutterman.