Farmers mostly have a pretty routine life. They get up early and work hard raising crops in the hopes of reaping the most out of them. Experienced farmers check in on their farms every day to see that everything is running along smoothly, but every once in a while they come across something that they just didn’t expect. That is precisely what happened to one farmer who inexplicably encountered a mysterious item.
He stumbled onto something which he certainly wasn’t expecting, something which was believed to be extinct for many years. Keep reading to discover what was the strange thing the farmer found. We promise you won’t want to miss this!
A Holiday Surprise
Jose Antonio Nievas, a farmer in Argentina, decided to take a short stroll and get some fresh air on Christmas Day 2015. He was walking along his grounds when an uncommon occurrence took place which will now be part of his small town’s history forever.
The farm was a home for many different types of animals and plants, but nothing from Nievas’ agricultural experience could prepare him for what he found that day. He wasn’t sure what he was seeing, and it left him completely overwhelmed.
The First Sighting
The farm, owned by Jose Antonio Nievas and his wife, is situated in Carlos Spegazzini, a small city about 25 miles south of Argentina’s capital Buenos Aires. Nievas’ stroll took him past a stream on his property when something unusual caught his eye.
The big, round object was nestled in the mud at the back of the stream and Nievas originally thought it was an enormous stone. When he moved closer to the item, he still had no idea what it was, but it was clearly not a rock.
Not What it Appeared to Be
As Nievas approached, he became surer and surer that it was not a stone. The mysterious object was partially submerged in the mud so he couldn’t see what it really was. While trying to remove the dirt from the round shape, he began to have other suspicions.
The thing seemed to be covered in some sort of scales. Most of them were quite dark but some areas that were in curious shades of green. This knowledge did not help the Argentinian farmer identify his discovery and he most likely would never have guessed what it turned out to be.
A Helping Hand
Nieves tried and tried to clean up his mysterious find and dig it out of the mud for a better look, but he wasn’t having much luck. He decided that he needed help if he wanted to disconnect the object from the sticky riverbank.
Nieves told his wife, Reina Coronel, that he believed he had found something amazing and that he needed her help to retrieve it, but when he explained about the mysterious object, she thought he was playing some sort of prank on her.
A Dinosaur Egg?
Reina explains, “My husband went out to the car and when he came back he said, ‘Hey, I just found an egg that looks like it came from a dinosaur. We all laughed because we thought it was a joke.” But Nieves was actually completely serious.
In the end, she agreed to come out and help her husband, but it turns out that he was wrong about the object. The mysterious find would not have been a good fit for a real-life version of Jurassic Park, but the truth would leave the family no less astounded.
Here Comes the Cavalry
Reina and Jose kept working together to unearth their find. Although they were working hard, they also had to be extremely gentle, in order to not jeopardize the object. During their efforts, they came to realize that the object was quite a bit bigger than they had originally believed.
The pair soon realized that they needed additional help and decided to call the local authorities. They were hoping that the police could come in, help identify the object and extract it from the muddy bank. What actually happened when the authorities arrived was quite surprising.
The Townspeople Get Involved
When the police arrived at the farm, there was already a crowd of locals waiting for them there. They were trying to get a look at the mysterious object and snapping pictures of it. Everyone was talking and trying to figure out what the object was, but neither the public nor the police had any real idea what to make of it.
Unfortunately, the authorities didn’t have any more answers than Jose and his family, but luckily Jose’s dog came to the rescue. It arrived on the scene and its behavior offered the first real clue as to the nature of the mysterious discovery.
The curious canine bypassed all of the onlookers and made its way into the riverbed. It walked right up to the large and mysterious object and began to study it. The dog began sniffing around and barking, which led the people all around to the realization that they were not dealing with a run of the mill rock.
There was a lot of speculation amongst Carlos Spegazzini locals about the nature of the scaly surprise, but there was no one at the scene who once looking upon the mysterious discovery, came up with a rational explanation. The police then decided that something more had to be done.
The Experts Arrive
The authorities came to the conclusion that the time had come to bring in some relevant experts and called in two local archaeologists to help explain this extraordinary find. The archaeologists were more than happy to get the chance to poke around this unusual discovery.
At first glance, the pair could not decisively conclude what it was that they were seeing, but they did agree to speculate that the object was a relic from ancient times. To make any further deductions, they would have to remove it and take it to their lab for further study, but when they got ready to move it, they discovered yet another surprise.
An Enormous Undertaking
When the scientists cleared away more mud and tried to dig out the large egg-shaped object from the riverbed, they finally understood how big and heavy it actually was. A team of excavators could barely move the shell because it was made of an immensely hard material and weighed almost two tons!
The experts spent a lot of time wading around in sticky, muddy water in order to painstakingly dig out the giant object. Eventually, they were able to extract it and gently load it up to be transferred to their lab, where more study and tests would reveal the amazing truth.
The artifact was studied extensively. Many tests were run, and samples of the shell-like material were examined under a microscope. The scientists learned a lot more about the object than what could merely be seen by the human eye, and the more they learned the more they were excited.
They came to the conclusion that what Jose found was not a dinosaur egg or something from outer space. Nevertheless, the actual results are just as amazing, to both the people of Carlos Spegazzini and to the rest of the world.
A Surprising Revelation
The scientists astounded everyone when they revealed that the 2-ton discovery had a rational explanation after all. According to them, the enormous object was actually the ancient fossil of a prehistoric beast which had been exceptionally well preserved.
All the experts agreed that the giant fossil, which was an astounding 10,000 years old, belonged to the armored, turtle-like shell of a prehistoric creature called a glyptodon which was long extinct. It was great to finally have an answer, but that raised a new question. How did the fossilized glyptodon shell find its way to Jose and Reina’s farm?
Questions are Raised
The news that an enormous 2-ton glyptodon shell was found was picked up by the media and people were extremely excited. Experts explained that although it was extremely rare to find the fossil of a prehistoric animal in such good condition, it was not unheard of.
Questions were still raised about the authenticity of the find and skeptics were doubtful about both the shell’s good condition and the fact that it was found in an upright position. It is typically believed that glyptodon regularly died after being turned over on their shell.
An Elaborate Hoax?
More and more scientists spoke up about the discovery and some even directly addressed the rumors of the supposed hoax. Some experts were unwilling to commit to an answer without studying the find themselves, while others felt that the footage and pictures of the shell were quite enough to give their opinion.
Prof. Adrian Lister of the Natural History Museum in London explained that it was quite common for these types of fossils to be found in flowing bodies of water where over time the natural erosion exposes ancient bones and shells. The mud that encased the object could also serve as a protective covering. But he had more to say.
The Enigma Explained
Prof. Lister believed that “It would be an ingenious hoaxer who would construct such a thing.” Regarding the hole, he added, “The shell looks like a genuine glyptodon shell, and the hole is “wear and tear,” not where the head or tail went.”
Additional experts, who observed the images on television, tended to agree that the object appeared to be a glyptodon shell. Paleontologist Alejandro Kramarz of the Bernadino Rivadavia Natural Sciences Museum stated, “There is no doubt that it looks like a glyptodon.” But what do we know about this extraordinary animal?
What is a Glyptodon?
They may not be as well known as other prehistoric creatures such as the saber-toothed tiger or the giant sloth, but glyptodons were also commonplace during the last Ice Age. These mammals, each one approximately the size and weight of a Volkswagen Beetle, used to roam the Earth. They are well known for their thick carapace (rounded plated armor) that measured about two inches.
Other characteristics of this species were a protective bony cap on the top of their skull and a spiked tail which they used to swing around to ward off predators or use for fights with other glyptodons. These animals were relatively peaceful herbivores that grazed near rivers and lakes.
Although doubts were raised about the authenticity of the fossil found on the property of Jose Antonio Nievas, glyptodons are known to have originally evolved in South America and the species resided there for tens of millions of years.
The remains of other glyptodons have also been found in Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil. When the continents of South and North America melded together the Great American Interchange occurred and the species migrated northward to the southern part of what is currently the United States. That all happened 2.5 million years ago, but the story is far from over.
The Path to Extinction
Paleontologist Alejandro Kramarz of the Bernadino Rivadavia Natural Sciences Museum told AFP that, “The animal became extinct thousands of years ago and it is very common to find their fossils in this region.” Even though these animals, which are now extinct, lived most recently thousands of years ago, the scientist is still intent on studying their unexpected relationship with another species which may have even led to their demise.
Experts have found evidence that humans used to hunt these enormous armored creatures in order to use their dome-shaped shells for shelter, roughly 10,000 years ago, not long before the species became extinct. It is believed that the annihilation of the species coincided with the arrival of humans to the Americas. Humanity may have outlived these amazing creatures, but most of us know their contemporary ancestor.
Not Completely Gone
The enormous size of the glyptodons has raised some questions about their lineage, but scientists believe that they are the ancient ancestors of an animal that most have us have seen at least once or twice in our lives. It is much smaller, a mammal and is also covered by a protective shell.
Although they are vastly different in size, it turns out that the enormous prehistoric glyptodons are related to the medium-sized modern-day armadillo. When you take their size into account, there is one more surprising thing scientists found out about the glyptodon fossil the Argentinian farmer stumbled upon.
It Wasn’t Fully Grown
The 2-ton fossil that was found on the farm in Argentina seemed enormous. Its shell was measured at an astonishing three feet, but apparently, this glyptodon was not even fully grown. Paleontologists’ research suggests that the shell of a fully matured specimen could reach up to 11 feet!
It is hard to believe that these enormous creatures used to roam freely across these lands, which are now full of people and things. Jose Antonio Nieves’ incredible accidental discovery of a glyptodon fossil has surely helped scientists find out more about these creatures who became extinct so long ago. Keep reading for an even more unbelievable discovery.
Another Farmer Unearths a Mystery
The discovery made by Jose Antonio Nieves of an enormous prehistoric fossil on his farm in Argentina was extraordinary, but surprisingly it was not the only unbelievable discovery made by an unsuspecting farmer in a small town that year.
On a different side of the planet, in the Northern Hemisphere, James Bristle, a farmer from Michigan, was working the soybean field on his farm when he unexpectedly encountered something so amazing it would turn him into a local celebrity, and soon after into a worldwide media sensation.
An Unexpected Hurdle
James Bristle had recently acquired the property which was located not far from the city of Chelsea in the Ann Arbor region. On that day in October 2015, Bristle wanted to get some work done on his infrastructure and decided that a remote soy field would be a good location for a new natural gas line.
Although the field was supposed to have loose, soft soil, heavy machinery was still needed to dig deep enough to install the gas line. Bristle and a friend were using a tractor to plow deep into what was supposed to be soft Midwestern earth when their backhoe suddenly hit something.
A Peculiar Find
Bristle stopped the work and got down on his hands and knees to examine the obstacle they had run into. He believed it was probably a stone or a big root, but as he started feeling around, he discovered that the object was smooth and hard.
The farmer was now extremely curious and continued trying to remove the soil and dirt from the mysterious object. James and his friend did not know what they were dealing with but finally managed to get off some of the mud. At that moment they both realized that they had uncovered something extraordinary.
Just a Bent Fence Post?
At first, the Michigan farmer believed that he had simply dug up an old and bent fence post which was completely covered in dirt and mud. Fortunately, he didn’t just toss it aside and go on working but decided to continue clearing out the field.
Bristle explains, “We knew it was something that was out of the norm.” He added, “My grandson came over to look at it, he’s 5-years-old, he was speechless.” James Bristle listened to his gut which led him to a major discovery which would completely stun his family, friends and the entire small Michigan town in which he lived.
A Lucky Find
The object was unidentifiable at first, but after a more thorough cleaning, it became clear that Bristle had unearthed a piece of bone. The bone, however, did not bear a resemblance to anything which he’d ever seen before. His first thought was that it looked like a rib bone.
But if that was the case, it was way too big to be from any of the animals common in that region. Bristle’s family were native to the area, they had owned the farm across the road since the 1950s, but he had purchased this property only two months before stumbling upon the intriguing find. The decision to buy the land would rapidly change his life.
Digging for Clues
Bristle’s curiosity was all fired up and there was no way he was going to stop digging for answers. He removed more and more soil from the site and ultimately unearthed another bone. The second find only made things more complicated, because the second object was a lot longer than the first.
Believing that more clues would be found in the ground, Bristle brought in help and together they dug out a ten-feet deep tunnel in the sediment. It didn’t take long for news of the strange discovery to reach the townspeople and there was a lot of interest in the impromptu dig site.
A Creature Emerges
As the dig continued, excitement mounted in town and the story was picked up by several news outlets. Strange rumors were flying around about the origin of the bones and the way in which they had ended up in the farmer’s field.
The buzz became a frenzy when a giant skull was found at the site. The skull was a major discovery on its own, but there were also two enormous tusks attached to it, each the length of a fully-grown man. The rumor mill exploded with speculation about elephants or even monsters, but the truth would shock them all.
In Over His Head
It was at that point that James Bristle decided that he was in over his head and that he needed to bring in some expert help. He reached out to Prof. Daniel Fisher from the University of Michigan’s Museum of Paleontology. The professor was immediately intrigued and agreed to send a team of his students out to help.
The team arrived on site and were forced to work as quickly as they could because Bristle could only spare one day for the excavation. The students worked carefully but rapidly in the mud, but their jaws dropped when they figured out exactly what they were dealing with.
A Rare Discovery
More help arrived in the form of a local excavator who volunteered his expertise and some specialized machinery to move the project along. He also said something that Bristle will never forget, “He said he’s been digging for 45 years and he’s seen nothing like this,” Bristle cited the man’s words.
No one could believe it when the bones were finally identified as the remains of a woolly mammoth - the enormous creature from the Ice Age which was long extinct. One mystery had been solved but there were many more discoveries left to be made.
More Mammoth Discoveries
In addition to the fossilized mammoth tusk and skull, more bones from the extinct animal were dug up by the team. They found a pelvis bone, several vertebrae, ribs, and both shoulder blades. The items were carefully removed from the mud while the fascinated onlookers observed.
Bristle’s grandson was on the scene and the farmer described the experience: “When my five-year-old grandson came over and saw the pelvis, he just stood there with his jaw wide open and stared. He was in awe.” The remains were then packed up and sent to a museum for further study, which revealed yet another surprise.
Just like the ancient find in Argentina, the remarkable discovery of the woolly mammoth remains in Michigan begged the question, how and why did the animal end up in that location. Not surprisingly, the human element also played an important part in the place the “Michigan Mammoth” was found.
Dan Fisher, a professor from Michigan, speculated that when the mammoth died it had been roughly 40 years old. “We think that humans were here and may have butchered and stashed the meat so that they could come back later for it,” he said. However, there was one more astonishing thing still to learn about the long dead creature.
Mammoths and Mastodons
During the last Ice Age, mammoths and their distant cousins, the mastodons, were among the most eminent species to roam the planet. Mammoths, which are the ancient ancestors of modern-day elephants, evolved roughly five million years ago and most of them became extinct around 10,000 years ago.
Roughly 20% of the skeleton of the “Bristle Mammoth” was uncovered. This gave researchers quite a bit of data to work with. Prof. Fisher concluded that the bones found in Michigan were between 11,000 and 15,000 years old.
Based on Prof. Fisher’s theory about humans being the end of this mammoth and storing its meat, researchers will continue to examine the bones for other signs of human involvement. They will look for cut marks and other indications in the hopes of finding new information about the hotly debated subject of humanity’s arrival on the continent.
If the Age Ice artifacts yield any new information, they could help provide groundbreaking evidence about the timing of mankind’s arrival in the Americas and could actually prove that there was an interaction between humans and the woolly mammoth in the eastern Great Lakes basin earlier than what was previously thought.
Is it Rare to Find a Mammoth?
The discovery of the Bristle Mammoth was an incredible find but what makes it even more amazing is how rare mammoth finds are. Prof. Fisher explains, “We get calls once or twice a year about new specimens like this,” but added that most of those turn out to be mastodons.
There have been roughly 300 mastodon findings in Michigan so far, but over the same period, only 30 mammoths have been found. Of the mammoths found, only 10 yielded any substantial results. Prof. Fisher says this is because most of the mammoths uncovered are not as structurally intact as the one found in James Bristle’s field.
Linked by Their Discoveries
The last Ice Age has been over for quite a while, but due to observant and caring farmers like Jose Antonio Nievas and James Bristle, scientists get the chance to learn more about our planet’s history.
Both men lived in different parts of the world and never knew the other existed but are now linked forever through their accidental discoveries. Scientists can get on with their work because of the careful and thoughtful decision made by these two men. If they had just yanked them out of the ground, instead of preserving the fossils, we may have never gained all of this incredible knowledge.