Prehistoric fossil draws big crowd to museum

stegomastodon fossil
The stegomastodon discovered at Elephant Butte is drawing a big crowd at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science.

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – The prehistoric elephant skull discovered by a crew of pre-wedding revelers at Elephant Butte Lake is in its new home in Albuquerque, and the fossil is drawing quite a crowd to the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science.

Campers celebrating a bachelor party stumbled upon the Stegomastodon skull and tusks in June. Experts say it lived three million years ago, weighed up to 13,000 pounds and stood nine-feet tall.

The specimen was dug up, packed for transport and brought to the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, where it’s been visible for the past few weeks at the FossilWorks lab.

It’s described as one of the most intact Stegomastodon skulls ever found and officials say it’s drawn quite a crowd to that part of the museum.

“Frequently you find the tusks, no skull. Skull, no tusks. They’re still attached, which is why this is an astounding discovery,” FossilWorks Preparator Leonard Whitter told News 13.

Cleaning the fossil should take at least six more months. It’ll be studied by scientists to learn more about how this species measured up to today’s elephants.

The Stegomastodon at the museum still doesn’t have a name.

Officials say right now the focus is on getting the skull and tusks cleaned and ready for display. Where it will be displayed hasn’t been decided. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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