The owner of the partial mammoth skeleton uncovered near Chelsea decided on Monday to donate the bones to the University of Michigan for display and study.

James Bristle, a farmer who discovered the bones while installing drainage pipe in one of his fields last week, said he wants to share the excitement of the discovery with the public and allow U-M researchers to learn more about our past.

"This isn't just mine. It belongs to everybody," Bristle said at his farm southwest of Ann Arbor. "This is our way of giving back. A lot of people will benefit from being able to see this mammoth for many years to come. If I can make people happy by doing that, then I consider that a good day."

Bristle met Monday at his farm with U-M paleontologist Daniel Fisher, director of the U-M Museum of Paleontology. Fisher, who led last week's dig, said he is working on plans to display the bones at the U-M Museum of Natural History.

One possibility might be to combine the partial skeleton from Lima Township, which will be known as the Bristle Mammoth, with bones from other Michigan mammoths to form a complete mammoth skeleton for display at the museum. Fiberglas casts of the bones would likely be used in the mounted specimen, he said.

"We are enormously thankful to landowners like Jim Bristle who are willing to donate material like this," Fisher said. The display would be a partnership between the U-M Museum of Paleontology and the U-M Museum of Natural History, he said.

"Our knowledge of the past depends entirely on the generosity of landowners who provide us with this type of material," Fisher said.

Read the full Michigan News press release and watch a video

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