POSTED: Tuesday, June 10, 2014 - 4:21pm
UPDATED: Thursday, June 12, 2014 - 4:01pm
ELEPHANT BUTTE, NM — Campers have discovered what appears to be an ancient elephant skull at Elephant Butte Lake State Park.
“State Parks and other agencies are investigating the find of what appears a tusk and skull of a prehistoric elephant” said State Parks Director Tommy Mutz. “Until paleontologists can carefully excavate and analyze this find, we will not have conclusive information and ask the public to help us protect it.”
Paleontologists at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science are working with State Park and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Staff to carefully investigate and potentially excavate this fossil as soon as possible.
This discovery was properly reported to State Parks and has since been protected by covering it so as not to compromise its integrity, and to ensure its safety.
“It’s great that campers properly reported the find to authorities,” said Dr. Robert Stokes, State Parks Archeologist, “State and federal law prohibit the removal of archeological, paleontological and botanical specimens from Elephant Butte Lake State Park”
Once the investigation is complete, State Parks will work with other agencies to provide the public with information about the age and type of fossil skull found.