PHOTOS: Florida Scuba Divers Uncover 50-Pound Ice Age Mammoth Bone

by Emily Morgan

Two Florida scuba divers made a discovery of a lifetime when they uncovered a mammoth bone that possibly dates back to the Ice Age. Derek Demeter and Henry Sadler recently found the four-foot, 50-pound bone in the Peace River near Orlando, Fla., and are calling it an “amazing” discovery.

Both Demeter and Sadler are passionate explorers and amateur paleontologists. “[Henry] came up, and he’s like, ‘Derek, I found something amazing,’ and he’s just freaking out,” said Demeter during an interview. Demeter works as the planetarium director at a local college. “When I saw it, I couldn’t believe it. I was in denial. It was really neat to see that be discovered.”

Per reports, the bone belonged to a Columbian mammoth, a short-haired elephant-esque creature that existed somewhere between 2.6 million and 10,000 years ago.

“There’s only the top third of it, so it’s missing quite a bit,” said Salder, a middle school teacher. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime find, as is the mammoth leg bone. Derek and I seem to be pretty lucky together.”

Ameuter Paleontologists Get Mammoth Of a Surprise

As for Demeter, he’s thrilled about his discovery.

“Henry is my dive buddy,” he said. “He yelled out to me, said, ‘Hey, Derek. I found something!’ Oh my goodness!’ It was really, really cool.”

As for their discovery, Demeter concludes that “this one’s much more dense, so we kind of think it’s somewhere in the middle. Probably 100,000 years old,” Demeter said in an interview.

This isn’t the first time the pair has made some paleontological discoveries. They’ve dug up several other bones while exploring. On the same day of the mammoth bone discovery, they found parts of an extinct shark and the tooth of a saber-tooth tiger.

Sadler had previously found mammoth teeth in the same river. “The thing I love about it is, just like astronomy, it’s time traveling. It plays with the imagination so you go ‘Wow, what was going on at this time?'” Demeter added.

Some of the pair’s previous finds have ended up in the Florida Museum of Natural History. For the mammoth bone, its new home will be in Sadler’s classroom.

“It’s currently sitting in the classroom where the kids are able to see it, touch it, feel it and really get a history of the natural world,” Sadler said. “I talk to my kids about the movie ‘Ice Age.’… They’ve heard about saber-toothed tigers, and actually finding a piece of one of those animals and bringing it to life for those kids — it’s just awesome.”