When the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation worked with its partners to successfully restore wild elk to their historic Missouri range in 2011, everyone involved knew elk previously lived in the Show-Me State. However, a recent discovery raised some eyebrows that indicates how long ago elk lived there.
A woman who lives about 140 miles from Kansas City in northeast Missouri noticed something while walking through a field on her family farm and gazing at a creek bank.
“I picked it up… just because I was curious, like, ‘What is this?’” Linda Jepson told KTVO-TV. “Everybody was telling me, ‘Oh, just throw that down. That’s yucky. Eww!’ I was like, ‘No, I think this might be something. I need to look at this.’ I was like this kind of looks like a cervid species, like a skull of a deer species, you know, or something.”
Sure enough, turns out it’s part of an elk skull dating back to the ice age. A paleontologist from the Missouri Institute of Natural Science, where the artifact is on display, said it could be tens of thousands of years old or it may even be hundreds of thousands years old.
Go here to watch a TV report about the find.
(Photo credit: Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation)