LUBBOCK COUNTY, TX (KCBD) - While analysis is ongoing, TxDOT officials Thursday tentatively identified bones discovered along the future route of Loop 88 as those of the now extinct Woolly Mammoth.
The discovery was made at the end of November in a field just east of the FM 179 and 130th Street or the FM 1585 intersection. Crews were conducting an environmental impact study for the future Loop. Officials say the crews target areas such as old playa lakes because animal and people of the past would gather in those areas.
"During the first dig they found a few fragments of bones so they felt like more investigation needed to happen," Kylan Francis, director of Transportation Planning and Development, said. "We called our archaeologists that are on staff at TxDOT in Austin."
Those archaeologists dug an even deeper trench of about five to 10 feet and found more bones. Those were sent for testing and analysis. The site was then refilled with dirt.
Francis said it's common to find Mammoth remains across Texas, even in Lubbock at Lubbock Lake Landmark.
"It's interesting for us, too, even though it may create a little bit more paperwork for us," Francis said. "It's still an interesting site."
There is a possibility TxDOT would have to consult Native American tribes that may have inhabited the area if the bones were to be discovered as bison. TxDOT now says either way the project will continue with the possibility of more digging.
"We will finish our report and environmental clearance really quick," Francis said. "We will probably have to do more investigation later."
The Department has not yet acquired right-of-way for the Loop 88 project but expects to send out offers in mid to late January. This discovery, officials say, will not delay the process because of its location.
"This part of the project is 12 miles long and we are starting at US 87," Francis said. "It's very far from the beginning of our project. Even our right-of-way acquisition is focusing on the part by US 87. This part of the project we won't get to for 7 to 10 years."
TxDOT is set to begin construction in 2021 and estimate the entire project taking 10 to 15 years to complete.
For more information on the bone discovery, click here. Final results from testing to determine the exact date of the bones is expected in a few weeks, according to Francis.
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