TIME Archaeology

Bachelor Party Discovers 3-Million-Year-Old Elephant Fossil

A celebratory bro gathering casually stumbled upon the well-preserved bones of a beast that predates woolly mammoths

Some bachelor parties are like the “wolf pack” in The Hangover, wreacking havoc wherever they go; others accidentally end up making valuable contributions to natural history — like one did in New Mexico earlier this month.

A group of guys were reportedly hiking through Elephant Butte Lake State Park when a strange protruding object caught their eye, the Telegraph reports. After they dug a little deeper — literally — they unearthed an excellently preserved elephant skull, and, thinking they discovered woolly mammoth bones, snapped pictures for the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science.

According to the museum, it wasn’t a woolly mammoth, but in fact something much older: the skull of a stegomastodon, an ancestor of modern elephants that first walked in North America around 15 million years ago and went extinct about 10,000 years ago.

Archeologists promptly recovered the 1,000-pound remains, which they say are the most complete of their kind, and will put them on display after they finish studying them.

Now, let’s hope the groom’s marriage lasts as long as the fossils did.

Correction appended: The original version of this story incorrectly described the location of Elephant Butte Lake State Park.

[Telegraph]

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