November 2008 Issue
It’s not Bigfoot. But it could just be the next best thing. Two months ago, backhoe operator Tyler Underwood unearthed a skull and antlers on a farm in Medina. Turns out, they’re the remains of a male Stag-moose that roamed the wilds around here more than 10,000 years ago. A team of Ohio Historical Society archaeologists was dispatched to the scene for further sleuthing, and 34 additional bone fragments were uncovered 16 to 18 feet below ground.
“It’s a pretty rare find,” says Bob Glotzhober, OHS curator of natural history. “It’s only the ninth time in Ohio that one of these animals has been found, as opposed to mastodons and mammoths, which are fairly common discoveries. The Ohio Historical Society is particularly pleased about this one, since so much of it was still intact.”
The Stag-moose, or Cervalces scotti, was taller and had longer legs than its 21st-century relatives. Glotzhober has deduced that it probably died during the fall, since it was still sporting the antlers it would have shed during late winter or early spring. The curator is hoping to discover what animal made the teeth marks prominent on the moose’s humerus. He speculates the perpetrator might have been kin to the wolves and bears we see today. The seeds, pieces of twigs and shell fragments found at the site may also yield clues about what Ohio’s environment was like during that time period.
Glotzhober is grateful that the construction worker took the time to call.
“Many would have the tendency to say, ‘Let’s get this work done and forget about it,’” he says. “But anytime the public expresses curiosity in something like this, it benefits science and all of society.”