Divers Derek Demeter and Henry Sadler are used to finding prehistoric treasures when they trawl Central Florida waterways. But no amount of experience could prepare them for the massive surprise they found while diving in the Peace River earlier this month.
The pair uncovered a 50-pound leg bone from a Columbian Mammoth, an extinct distant relative of the Asian elephant that last roamed the Earth over 10,000 years ago.
The 4-foot long bone was found by Sadler, a science teacher at St. Petersburg's Admiral Admiral Farragut Academy teacher whose social media profiles are littered with minds from his pursuit of amateur paleontology.
Demeter told the Orlando Sentinel that he knew his dive partner had discovered something huge from the excitement in his voice.
“[Henry] came up, and he’s like, ‘Derek, I found something amazing,’ and he’s just freaking out,” said Demeter, who runs the Seminole State College planetarium in Sanford. “When I saw it, I couldn’t believe it. I was in denial. It was really neat to see that be discovered.”
The leg wasn't the only precious find for the pair that day. They also managed to find the tooth of a saber-tooth tiger in the river muck. Sadler has previously found mammoth teeth in the Peace River, which he shared to his Instagram.
This article first appeared at our sister paper Orlando Weekly.
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