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However, the land owner wanted to remain anonymous, fearing others would rush to the property and start digging for their own stegomastadon."The skull that we found is one of the very best to have been found in New Mexico.
Excavating the skull and tusk out of the dirt was a precarious procedure."All of the protein is gone from these fossils and the bone is very very brittle and fragile.
Somebody's house might be built right on top of them. Jude's father had initially tried to to pick up the tusk, but it splintered a little as soon as he tried to lift it.
But they don't usually survive the erosional process to get to the surface. The family knew an expert would have to be the one to uncover what was left of the stegomastodon."It was incredibly exciting because fossils in this condition are extremely rare.
And as soon as the sediment is taken away from around it, it just falls apart completely on its own.
So we have to use preservatives to stabilize it before we remove the sediment around it.