A Springfield man's swimming trip in the Sangamon River has produced a rare Ice Age discovery. The vertebra of an extinct Harlan's muskox went on display Friday at the Illinois State Museum. McDonald's restaurant manager Tony Blisset found the vertebra while wading in chest-deep water in the river with his son. The water in the river was low due to drought conditions in Illinois. At first Blisset said he thought the vertebra was from a cow or horse. But then Blisset contacted the museum, which researched the vertebra and informed Blisset of his significant find. Blisset has donated the vertebra to the museum. It is only the thirteenth record of the species in Illinois. Paleontologists at the museum call it an "important discovery.''
Above, Tony Blisset holds the prehistoric bone he found this summer in the Sangamon River. The bone is from the extinct Ice Age animal known as the Harlan's muskox, a model of which is behind Blisset in a display at the Illinois State Museum. (Brian Mackey/Illinois Public Radio)
Support Your Public Radio Station