Derek Demeter and Henry Sadler found the four-foot, 50-pound bone in the Peace River near Acadia last Sunday, calling it an “amazing” discovery.
“Henry is my dive buddy,” Demeter, Seminole State Planetarium’s director, told FOX 35 Orlando. “He yelled out to me, said, ‘Hey, Derek. I found something!’ Oh my goodness!’ It was really, really cool.”
The pair believe the bone belonged to a Columbian mammoth, which wandered around Florida between 2.6 million and 10,000 years ago; however, the actual age is difficult to determine.
“This one’s much more dense, so we kind of think it’s somewhere in the middle. Probably 100,000 years old,” Demeter told FOX 35.
As amateur paleontologists, the pair have dug up a number of other bones: On the same day, they discovered parts of an extinct shark and the tooth of a saber-tooth tiger.
Sadler had previously found mammoth teeth in the same river.
“The thing I love about it is, just like astronomy, it’s time traveling. It plays with the imagination so you go ‘Wow, what was going on at this time?'” Demeter added.
Some of the previous discoveries have ended up in the Florida Museum of Natural History, but this newest find will end up in a classroom where Sadler teaches.
“It’s currently sitting in the classroom where the kids are able to see it, touch it, feel it and really get a history of the natural world,” Sadler said.
“I talk to my kids about the movie ‘Ice Age.’ … They’ve heard about saber-toothed tigers, and actually finding a piece of one of those animals and bringing it to life for those kids — it’s just awesome.”