Prehistoric mammoth bones unearthed during Oregon State stadium construction


Nebraska's Memorial Stadium and East Carolina's Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium are each nicknamed "The Boneyard." Oregon State's Reser Stadium has an actual bone yard.

A construction crew working on the expansion of Reser Stadium unearthed animal bones from the Ice Age. A fully intact femur, believed to be from a mammoth, was among the prehistoric bones discovered on Monday at the site of what will be the locker room for the Beavers' football team.

Anthropology professors at the school were called to the site that also included bones believed to be from bison and a camel or horse.

"There are quite a few bones, and dozens of pieces," Oregon State associate professor of anthropology Loren Davis said.

"Some of the bones are not in very good shape, but some are actually quite well preserved."

The bones were discovered in a 10-foot deep plot. When a worker first found the femur, work immediately stopped.

There were no human bones unearthed and the fossils are believed to be more than 10,000 years old. The school is expanding the Valley Football Center and crews were digging up an area in the north end zone of the stadium that seats nearly 46,000 and will house around 55,000 once expansion is complete.

Corvalis is in the Willamette Valley and Davis said it is not unusual to discover ancient animal bones in an area that used to be full of bogs and marshes.

"Animals who were sick would often go to a body of water and die there, so it's not unusual to find a group of bones like this," Davis said. "We had all of these types of animals in the Willamette Valley back then."