VIA| A farmer in rural Iowa has a mammoth secret hiding in his living room.
Amid his couch, coffee table and television, he has a collection of enormous wooly mammoth fossils that he excavated from his backyard in Oskaloosa.
Experts believe he has an entire skeleton of the 14,000-year-old ice age creature on his property, a rare find.
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Heavy lifting: John, a farmer from Oskaloosa, Iowa, struggles to carry the femur from a wooly mammoth skeleton he found buried in his backyard
Piling up: John says he has rib bones and vertebrae from the mighty beast cluttering his living room
But the man, who gives his name only as John, plans to keep the fossils for himself. For now they’re just piling up in his living room, WOI-DT in Des Moines, Iowa, reports.
‘Sometimes I get tired of moving bones around from one spot to the other,’ he told the TV station.
He has stacks and vertebrae and ribs cluttering his house.
The most impressive bone, though is the five-foot-long femur.
Woolly mammoths were hairy relatives of African elephants, and were roughly the same size — up to 13 feet tall.
A little help: After digging up the bones by himself for two years, John called in an expert from the University of Iowa
John and his sons kept their find secret for two years as they pulled numerous bones from the dark Iowa soil along a creek in their property.
Recently, as the excavation site got deeper, John invited in an expert from the University of Iowa, a retired professor of vertebrate paleontology.
Holmes Semken brought along some hardworking students to help with the digging.
Before, John had attacked the prehistoric site with a backhoe. The students were equipped for more delicate work, using shovels and small digging spades.
Delicate: A team of student volunteers are using trowels and spades and uncover the rest of the remains
Professor Semken said the archeological site gives important clues about what life was like in Iowa during the Ice Age.
‘The mammoth is just a great plus,’ he told the TV station.
In a few weeks, the team expects to dig up the massive creature’s skull.
When the excavation is done, John gets to keep all of the bones. But he really doesn’t know what to do with them.
‘Build another room off the side of the home and put it together? I don’t know, I haven’t decided yet,’ he said.