Island 35 Mastodon

The Island 35 Mastodon was discovered on Island No. 35 of the Mississippi River in Tipton County, Tennessee, United States.

In 1900, a prehistoric mastodon skeleton was excavated approximately 3 mi (4,8 km) east of Reverie, Tennessee and 4 mi (6,4 km) southeast of Wilson, Arkansas. In 1957 the site was reported as destroyed.

Prehistoric Mastodons

Mastodons are members of the prehistoric, extinct genus Mammut, they resemble modern elephants.

Native to North America they are said to have lived on the North American continent from almost 4 million years ago, in the the Tertiary period, until their eventual disappearance about 10,000 years ago.

Island 35 Mastodon

In 1900, archaeologist Dr. James K. Hampson documented the discovery of skeletal remains of a mastodon on Island No. 35 of the Mississippi River, Tipton County, Tennessee.

The site of the prehistoric find was approximately 3 mi (4,8 km) east of Reverie, Tennessee and 23 mi (37 km) south of Blytheville, Arkansas.

Discovery of the skeleton

During heavy rain in June 1900, sand at the point bar of Island No. 35 had been washed away, exposing the mastodon skeleton from the sediment when the water retreated from the sandbar in July of the same year.

John Pendleton, a resident of Island No. 35, notified his neighbor Dr. James K. Hampson about unusual bones he had found exposed by the retreating water at the head of the river island. Reportedly, Hampson visited the site of the find "2 or 3 weeks" after the prehistoric bones had been discovered.

By the time of Hampson's arrival, many of the bones had been stolen and the skeleton had been considerably damaged by "curiosity seekers" and "ivory hunters". The remainder of the skeleton ("mainly parts of the hind leg and pelvis") could be excavated by Hampson with help of a pick to separate the mastodon bones from the gravel and pebbles in which they had been resting "cemented together by a clay".


In 1957 the site was reported as destroyed.

It is unknown if the remaining mastodon bones are on display or part of a private collection. The Tipton County museum in Covington does exhibit some mastodon fossils.

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