In May 1962, relics were unearthed on the farm of Stan Borkowski on Duffield Rd. near Lennon, Michigan. The bones were discovered just 15 feet below the ground when a pond was being excavated.

Zoologist, George Buck, of Flint, Michigan examines the mastodon skull below.

The Borkowski farm is situated on a ridge which Buck said marks the beginning of the Saginaw Valley. The "beach" on which the bones were found is known to archeologists as the Saginaw Beach. The lake dried up thousands of years ago.

Buck said it was possible that the mastodon came to the lake for a drink and got stuck in the clay, a strip of which lies beneath a layer of beach sand.

Uncovered near Lennon, was a 10 foot tusk, a skull measuring 32" wide and other bones resembling ribs and a vertebrae. The skull weighed about 600 pounds.

American Mastodon, Mammut americanum

This specimen is the most complete, and one of the better preserved, mastodons discovered in the state of Michigan.

This species of mastodon existed during the Pleistocene (about 2 million years ago) until about 10,400 years ago, and ranged from Alaska and the Yukon down to Central Mexico. About 11,000 years ago, when this individual lived, they were common around the Great Lakes and the Atlantic coast, feeding on plants in open spruce or pine woodlands and along wetland margins. Mastodons were still here when prehistoric humans arrived in Michigan late in the Pleistocene.

Males of the species grew to be 3 meters (10 feet) tall at the shoulder and had tusks over 2.5 meters (8.5 feet) long, but females were significantly smaller. The state of development of this individual's bones, along with the wear on its teeth, indicate it was fully grown. Its body size and tusk size are well within the range for females. The worn edges on the broken tusk reveal that the breakage occurred during her lifetime.

Mastodons have had an evolutionary history separate from that of mammoths and elephants for at least 20 million years. Nonetheless, all of these animals resemble one another in overall body form and are placed in the same order of mammals.

This Mastodon was found in Rush Township in 1944 and has been called the 'Owosso Mastodon'. The bones are on display at the Exhibit Museum at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor Michigan.

Perry Township Mastodon

In September 2001, Mastodon bones were also found on property belonging to Sue and Ron Hammond on Beard Rd. west of M-52 in Perry Twp.

According to Dr. Dan Fisher of the University of Michigan, the beast was most likely hunted down by Paleo Indians. These people came to North America from Siberia on the Bering (now Sea) Land Bridge, thousands of years ago. After these bones have been carefully studied and cataloged, they will be displayed at the Calkins-MacQueen House museum in Perry, MI.

More About the Perry Township Mastodon

Gov. Engler Signs Law Making
Mastodon the State Fossil of Michigan

April 2002

The mastodon joins other other Michigan symbols such as the Robin....the official bird, brook, apple blossom...flower, petosky stone...state gem, white-tailed animal and the white pine....tree.

Mastodons are an extinct relative of the elephant that existed until about 10,000 years ago. Mastodon bones are commonly found in Michigan.

About 250 mastodon fossils have been found in southern Michigan, according to dave Thomas, the head of Washtenaw Community College's geology department.

State Sen. Thaddeus McCotter, R-Livonia, sponsored the bill after students from Ann Arbor's Slauson Middle School wrote letters supporting the bill and rallied for the measure at the Capitol earlier this year.

Shiawassee County History