Source: News-Journal, October 16, 1929


A party of college students under the direction of H.H. Helman will spend Saturday digging after the bones of the long lost mastodon. A part of the bones of this animal were found a number of years ago on a farm five miles north of Denver, and now the college has permission to continue the search in hope of finding the rest of the bones. Part of these bones are already in the college museum, and the hope is to find enough of the remainder to build a pretty good representation of the animal that once roamed unmolested over these parts, and that either died of peaceful and respected old age, or mired in the rich land of the Eel River valley.

There is no telling how long ago that was. Some say it may have been a million years, for scientists can prove almost anything, but the fact remains that the bones are there, and they were there long, long before the oldest inhabitant knew anything about that section. But anyway, pity the poor old mastodon or dinosauer or whatever he was. No telling how hard he worked to make a living; no telling what privations or mental vicissitudes he was called upon to endure, and then to think after he had wrapped his robes about him, and his life over, had lain down to sleep his long and well earned rest that here after a million years he shall be disturbed, his weary bones brought up again and made to stand in weak mockery of the power he once had—and simply for the purpose of becoming an object for curious eyes to gaze upon, and wonder if, once instinct with life he sipped of every sinful sweet, and unremembered fell asleep, or if he lived a life so full of kindness that the birds sought out his last resting place to pour out a melody of thankful song.


Source: News-Journal, October 21, 1929


A tusk measuring 10 feet, 4 inches long and 7 inches in diameter at the base was among the huge mastodon bones unearthed by the Manchester college expedition Saturday on the Cover farm north of Denver. The large pelvic bone, several ribs and vertebrae and other smaller bones were also unearthed and brought to the college museum. The bones were about three feet under the surface and below that there was quick sand. The tusk was cracked so it broke in three pieces when it was lifted from the ground, but otherwise the bones are in excellent condition. The ribs show fractures, indicating, as the professors say, that the animal had probably gotten the worst of it in a scrap with some other prehistoric animal. It is only speculation of course but it is likely the animal mired in the muck and quicksand at the bottom of what was then a shallow lake. Then the water drained away and the bones lay for centuries and centuries. A few years ago part of the bones were plowed out of the ground and that gave the clue to the location of the skeleton. Frost and freezing and thawing had cracked the house and there was evidence of muck fires reaching some of the skeleton and destroying part of the bones.

Three members of the faculty and 42 students helped unearth the bones. A few smaller bones were uncovered shortly after they commenced digging and then came disappointment. They dug, they sweated and found nothing. It was near noon and the workers were resting on their shovels and casting longing glances at the lunch baskets. Then one of the students struck something hard with his shovel and with a whoop the gang threw dirt at a rate that would have shamed California gold prospectors. In a few minutes the big tusk was uncovered. The other bones were found in the afternoon.

The bones were shellacked to prevent disintegration when exposed to air and were loaded into H.H. Helman’s truck, for Mr. Helman had been so sure of finding something that he drove a truck so he could haul the bones to the college. They were put in the college museum and will be restored where necessary to their original form. Scientists say the bones are from the mastodon rather than the mammoth, for the mammoth did not come this far south but inhabited the more frigid climes. Many skeletons of the mammoth have been unearthed in the frozen wastes of Siberia.