Massive mastodon skeleton leaving Oregon Zoo for Smithsonian - KPTV - FOX 12

Massive mastodon skeleton leaving Oregon Zoo for Smithsonian

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WASHINGTON D.C. (KPTV) -

A massive mastodon is migrating back east.

The Oregon Zoo's Lilah Callen Holden Elephant Museum is closing this month as the zoo prepares to construct Elephant Lands, a dramatic expansion of the Asian elephant habitat.

Much of the artwork and historical artifacts currently on display at the museum will remain at the zoo. The massive mastodon skeleton, however, is returning home.

The 7,000-year-old fossilized mastodon was discovered in 1901 and setup at the Smithsonian's "Hall of Extinct Monsters" in Washington, DC, in 1910. It was moved to Oregon in 1986 for the opening of the zoo's elephant museum, where it still stands today.

Later this month, a team of expert vertebrate paleontologists will begin the job of dismantling the fossilized giant so that it can be shipped back to its permanent home at the Smithsonian in early February.

Zoogoers hoping to see the elephant museum one last time can visit between Jan. 11 and 21. For more details, go to OregonZoo.org.

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