A recent catch led one man to wonder how artifacts from 6,000 BC got into the belly of a Mississippi alligator.
Yazoo City deer processor Shane Smith was looking through the contents of a 13-foot alligator’s stomach. The 750-pound beast had two strange objects in it, and one was a broken stone arrowhead.
According to the Clarion Ledger, Smith was shocked by the find and almost kept the news to himself.
“At first, I thought ‘I’m not posting this on Facebook,’ because no one will believe it,'” Smith said.
Gator’s Hidden Items Too Good To Keep Quiet
But the find was too good not to share. The gator had ingested items dated from 6,000 BC, and Smith changed his mind.
Smith admitted a wild game processor piqued his interest in South Carolina. The man read about unusual items in the processor’s alligator find. Smith read about one time where an alligator’s stomach had a soldier’s dog tags in it.
Could he get lucky with one of the alligators he processed? Possibly.
One of the first finds he came across was an unfired bullet. Columbia, Miss.-resident Ty Powell said he had no idea about its origin.
The second gator came from the city on the Mississippi-Louisiana border. that gator had bones, hair, feathers, stones, and two rarer finds.
The alligator’s belly revealed a prehistoric projectile point and a plummet.
Smith’s friends watched in amazement as the processor examined the unique items.
“I looked over and saw a rock with a different tint to it,” Smith told the newspaper. “It was the arrowhead.”
The surprise washed over Smith. He first thought it was not possible that the gator ate a Native American or that a Native American shot the gator with the arrowhead.
But then, he thought better of the moment. Smith figured out the gator “scooped up the other rocks” and “got that point.”
The Experts Speak About Alligator’s Objects
A Mississippi state geologist examined a photo of the point and determined it came from the Early Archaic/Middle Archaic periods or 5000 to 6000 BC period.
“How the base is made is real tell-tale in estimating the time period,” James Starnes said.
Starnes, the director of Surface Geology and Surface Mapping for the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, made another revelation – it wasn’t an arrowhead.
The director said the object was for an early weapon that launches a spear. The weapon likely had a cup on one end that acted as a lever to increase velocity, like a catapult possibly.
As for the plummet, the men found a heavy, tear-shaped object. It looked like a lead fishing weight.
Starnes said that the object dated back to the Late Archaic Period or nearly 1700 BC. Made of hematite, he added that researchers have not decided what the plummet’s use is despite its popular trading among native people.
Another state employee said rigid objects (rocks and grit) help these massive reptiles with digestion.
Flynt is the coordinator for the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks Alligator Program.
Flynt has also made some of his fascinating discoveries. He found a piece of cypress in one alligator’s stomach that was 15 inches long.