Ancient elk bones sent to MSU after disappearing in ’84
East Lansing — An ancient elk’s skull and antlers have turned up at Michigan State University, more than 30 years after they were discovered but then stolen from the ground in Shiawassee County.
An anonymous person gave them to the MSU Museum before Christmas, the Argus-Press in Owosso reported.
“Well, I’ll be darned!” said Bob Harper of Perry, 68, whose father, Gordon, owned the peat bog where the discovery was made. “I never would have thought I’d see them again.”
In 1984, an Anderson Peat Co. employee found the elk parts while digging in the bog. But when researchers from the museum came to excavate the site, the remains were gone.
“I remember when it was taken. I was in town, but my parents were away in Canada,” Harper said. “I wish I would have done something about it, but I didn’t.”
Museum experts tested the newly recovered elk parts, compared them with other bones found at the peat bog and confirmed they came from the site. They are believed to be more than 5,000 years old.
It’s now up to the Harper family whether to take the skull and antlers or leave them with MSU, said Chad Davis, a detective with campus police.
“I had heard it was on display at some guy’s cottage in the U.P., but I always wanted to see it in a museum,” Bob Harper said.
The museum’s acting director, Lora Helou, said the museum would like to display the relics.
“This would be a good home for it,” she said.