'Complete' mammoth skeleton found in Idaho

Mammoth skeleton uncovered in Idaho

'Complete' mammoth skeleton found in Idaho

Researchers believe they may have discovered a complete mammoth skeleton in Idaho.

The skeleton - believed to be between 70,000 and 120,000 years old - was found by a fossil hunter working as a volunteer for the US Bureau of Reclamation near a reservoir in southeastern Idaho and was partially excavated by students and instructors at Idaho State University, reports the Metro.

Part of its skull and tusks were rescued, but it is believed there could be an entire skeleton at the site.

Mary Thompson, a vertebrate paleontologist and senior collections manager at the Idaho Museum of Natural History told Live Science: "We may even have a complete mammoth. This is very unique for us."

Fossil hunters search Idaho's American Falls Reservoir when water levels drop every year.

This mammoth fossil was found around 30ft below the reservoir's high water mark.

The team carried out a partial excavation of the skull and tusks in a race against rising water levels.

Thompson believes the mammoth was around 16 years old when it died, and that it was buried on its right side more than 72,000 years ago.

The unexcavated parts of the mammoth were covered up with geotextile and soil after a two-day dig. Thompson is hoping to bring a team back next year with ground-penetrating radar tools to find out exactly what lies below the surface.

Speaking to the NY Daily News, Thompson added: "It gives us a little more time to prepare if this is a complete mammoth, to get the funds together.

"This is going to be substantial to go out and excavate a complete mammoth."

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