Rare Find

Perot Museum snares ancient mammoth skeleton unearthed in North Texas

Perot Museum snares ancient mammoth skeleton unearthed in North Texas

Mammoth skeleton donated to Perot Museum
This pristine, nearly complete mammoth skeleton is being donated to the Perot Museum of Nature and Science. Photo courtesy of Perot Museum of Nature and Science

The Perot Museum of Nature and Science has earned the esteem of both the public and scientific community since it opened in 2012, and that only stands to grow with its newest acquisition: a pristine, nearly complete mammoth skeleton.

The mammoth, which is being donated by the Wayne McEwen family, was discovered on private property in Ellis County in a sand and gravel pit. The skeleton will be transported to the museum by sometime in September, where it will be cataloged and preserved for scientific research in the years to come.

 The skeleton is estimated to be anywhere from 20,000 to 60,000 years old.

“Having been found in our own backyard, this stunning example of a mammoth skeleton is especially meaningful because it’s a part of our heritage and the natural history of North Texas,” museum CEO Colleen Walker said in a statement. “The Perot Museum is truly grateful to the McEwen family for their enormous generosity in sharing this discovery with us and the world.”

The skeleton, a Mammuthus columbi or Columbian mammoth, is estimated to be anywhere from 20,000 to 60,000 years old. Due to its relatively small size — which, at 8 to 9 feet tall is still the size of a modern-day Asian elephant — and other anatomical factors, experts speculate that this mammoth was female.

It was discovered by members of the McEwen family during a routine excavation of their land. Representatives from nearby Navarro College have worked all summer to carefully uncover the remains of the creature.

The skeleton, which is complete except for a few missing leg bones, appears to have been untouched, a rarity because scavengers or environmental effects tend to spread bones far and wide.

The newly donated skeleton will be in good company at the Perot, as the museum already showcases a fully mounted male mammoth skeleton in the T. Boone Pickens Life Then and Now Hall.