Mastodon bones found in Seymour now at state museum

The large bones of a mastodon found last month on a farm in Seymour will be added to the Indiana State Museum’s collection.

The bones were found April 8 on a farm owned by Joe Schepman, his sister, Sue Nehrt, and her husband, Tony, and their aunt and uncle.

Last week, officials from the museum made a visit to get them, and they were later accepted by the museum’s committee.

The bones will be labeled as “The Schepman Farm Mastodon” when they go on display. Schepman has not been told when the bones will be on display, but they will first go through a preservation process.

Schepman said he was thrilled that the museum accepted them.

“It was my hope all along that they would accept them,” he said. “It will be nice to know that people can go up there and happen to see them and know they came from Jackson County.”

The discovery was made by workers with Atlas Excavating, who were working to install sewer lines on the city’s east side as part of a $15.5 million project.

The remains, which were unearthed on an easement for the sewer, include the majority of a tusk, part of a jawbone with teeth, two upper leg bones, a vertebrae, a joint and part of the skull. The tusk was split into two pieces and together made up about a third of the tusk.

State museum officials say the bones are estimated to be between 10,000 and 13,000 years old and from a mastodon standing about 9 feet tall. Museum staffers plan on spending the next year studying and preserving the bones.

Schepman said he and his family plan to go the museum this summer to look at the full mastodon, even if the bones found on the farm are not included.

“We’re looking forward to doing that,” he said.

It’s pretty common to find such remains in Indiana, as nearly all counties throughout the state have had discoveries, according to the Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites.

The bones will be available for future exhibitions at the downtown Indianapolis museum.

“Generations from now will be able to see what was found in Jackson County,” Schepman said.