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By John Garlock, Courtesy of KTVO TV Channel 3 News
NEAR GREEN CASTLE, Mo. — A northeast Missouri woman made an incredibly rare prehistoric discovery on her farm outside Green Castle.
Linda Jepson and her family were out walking in a field when an unusual object on the creek bank caught her eye.
“I picked it up… just because I was curious, like, ‘What is this?’” Jepson said. “Everybody was telling me, ‘Oh, just throw that down. That’s yucky. Eww!’ I was like, ‘No, I think this might be something. I need to look at this.’”
Jepson took the skull-like item home and rinsed it off to get a better look at it.
“I was kind of in shock. ‘What is this?’” Jepson said. “I was like this kind of looks like a cervid species, like a skull of a deer species, you know, or something.”
Jepson was on the right track. She compared the object to other deer skulls she had found on her farm and noted that her discovery was bigger than those skulls.
A paleontologist confirmed that what she had discovered is a partial skull of an extinct bull elk from the Ice Age.
Matt Forir, paleontologist from the Missouri Institute of Natural Science in Springfield, told Jepson it could be anywhere from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of years old.
Something that made Jepson’s discovery even more special is the fact that she found it in July 2021 on her 50th trip around the sun.
“You could say [it’s] the universe’s birthday present for me on my 50th birthday,” Jepson said.
Jepson recently loaned her prehistoric elk skull to the Missouri Institute of Natural Science Museum where it is now on display.
She will retain ownership of her rare discovery.