OSU crews uncover fossils on new football center construction si - KPTV - FOX 12

OSU crews uncover fossils on new football center construction site

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CORVALLIS, OR (KPTV) -

An excavation crew working on the an expansion of the Valley Football Center at Oregon State University have discovered fossils, some of which are estimated to be 10,000 years old.

Crews at the construction site said the fossils seem to be from a mammoth, a bison and a camel or horse.

The excavation was happening on the north side of Reser Stadium on the OSU campus.

Researchers believe the location may have been a bog or marsh that served as a watering site for the animals when they roamed the Willamette Valley.

"There are quite a few bones, and dozens of pieces," said Loren Davis, an associate professor of anthropology at OSU who was called to the site after the initial discovery was made. "Some of the bones are not in very good shape, but some are actually quite well preserved.

PHOTOS: Fossils discovered at construction site of OSU football project

There don't appear to be any signs of human bones or artifacts at the site, Davis said, and the animal do not appear to have been killed. Further testing will be needed to determine the bones' exact age.

A worker digging in the area made the initial discovery of the large femur bone, likely from a mammoth, and immediately stopped work in the area, said Tim Sissel, senior project manager for Hunt/Fortis, a joint venture, and general contractor on the project.

Company officials notified OSU administrators, who brought in Davis and other experts to examine the bones and the site. Crews have moved to other areas of the construction project while Davis and others take a closer look at the find. 

Davis said since the find does not appear to involve humans or human artifacts, the bones are not considered part of an archaeological site. There are no special rules or regulations in Oregon governing the preservation or protection of paleontology finds. 

In the short term, Davis plans to soak the discovered bones in water to prevent further deterioration, and hopes to send some out for carbon dating to determine more about their age. He and his students will also continue excavating a large pile of dirt pulled from the site, where more bones are believed to be buried.

"It'll be a great learning experience for them, to learn how to identify extinct animal bones," Davis said. "It's really an amazing find."

The construction project began after the fall football season ended and is slated for completion by the start of the 2016 home season.

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