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Family Needs Help With Mammoth Undertaking

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By Jay Michaels

Twin Falls, Idaho ( KMVT-TV / KTWT-TV ) It's been more than a year since a Magic Valley family began digging up a mammoth skeleton in their front yard. Now they're hoping to get help from Idaho State University, but the biggest part of the dig may be on hold.

Excavating a mammoth skeleton named "Moon" continues to consume Rebekah Olsen's life. However, it's an undertaking that she may no longer be able to do. This spring, she noticed she's getting the beginning of tendonitis and Carpal Tunnel syndrome.

Olsen says, "The ground's pretty hard in the middle of the summer, not very forgiving there. Mostly trying to keep the bones preserved. Because I was finding them quicker than I could preserve them. I'd have to take them inside. They're all over the dining room, the office, and all that."

With the size of the mammoth, Olsen needs help. Unfortunately, paleontologists with the Idaho Museum of Natural History won't be able to lend a big hand until next summer.

Dr. Mary Thompson, Ph.D. with the Idaho Museum of Natural History, says, "I would like to say that we could get some folks out here in another month, as soon as the semester starts up when the students are back. I'd like to bring students back out here, maybe spend a weekend out here."

While they can't dig up the whole mammoth yet, they can offer some scientific help in the meantime. Since it's on private land, the Olsens are thinking about establishing a nonprofit corporation.

Olsen says, "It's a unique opportunity that we went to share with everybody. Yet we do kind of need to keep our privacy. It's directly in our front lawn."

Keeping it private, but still planning to share the learning experience with students of all ages.

If you'd like to find out more about this project, look for the 'Mammoth Olsen' page on Facebook.

July 10, 2013.


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