Photos: Ice age mammoth unearthed in Idaho

Mammoth bones more than 70,000 years old emerged from the eroded river banks of a reservoir in Idaho this month. Paleontologists and students raced to rescue part of the beast's skull and a tusk, but they suspect more lies below the surface, perhaps a full skeleton. [Read full story on Idaho mammoth]           

Mary Thompson, a vertebrate paleontologist and senior collections manager at the Idaho Museum of Natural History who led the recovery effort, said she has never seen such a complete mammoth from this area since she started her career with the museum in 1990. (Credit: Bureau of Reclamation Photo by Dave Walsh)

The fossil was discovered by a volunteer with the Bureau of Reclamation who was scanning the reservoir beaches for freshly revealed fossils. (Credit: Bureau of Reclamation Photo by Dave Walsh)

This photo, taken on Oct. 16, shows Idaho State University students Casey Dooms and Jeff Castro brushing the mammoth fossil clean on the edge of American Falls Reservoir in southeastern Idaho. Some pieces of the skeleton were excavated over the course of two and a half days. (Credit: Bureau of Reclamation Photo by Dave Walsh)

To protect the fossil, the excavators encased it plaster and transferred it from the site to the Idaho Museum of Natural History in Pocatello, Idaho on Oct. 18. (Credit: Bureau of Reclamation Photo by Dave Walsh)

Thompson said she plans to return next year when the water levels go down again to unearth more of the skeleton. To protect the bones that remain buried from the reservoir waters, the team created a barrier with fabric and soil. (Credit: Bureau of Reclamation Photo by Dave Walsh)

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Megan Gannon
Live Science Contributor
Megan has been writing for Live Science and since 2012. Her interests range from archaeology to space exploration, and she has a bachelor's degree in English and art history from New York University. Megan spent two years as a reporter on the national desk at NewsCore. She has watched dinosaur auctions, witnessed rocket launches, licked ancient pottery sherds in Cyprus and flown in zero gravity. Follow her on Twitter and Google+.