Rare river find due to drought

Published 09/02 2012 10:14PM

Updated 09/04 2012 03:52PM

SPRINGFIELD -- The summer drought is showing just how old Illinois really is. A man found this rare fossil while swimming in the Sangamon River with his family last month.

He didn't know what it was, so he turned it in to the Illinois State Museum, where it's now on display. A paleontologist with the museum identified it as a neck vertebrae from a Harlan muskox.

The extinct mammal lives in Illinois during the Ice Age more than 12,000 years ago. Experts think the drought probably shifted some rocks causing the bone to float to the surface.

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