Extinct Michigan Elk Skull Found – You Can See it For Free!
It's hard to imagine what our area looked like fifty years ago, let alone a hundred. But sometimes discoveries come along that help us better put together a picture of what the flora and fauna were like when settlers were discovering territories. According to the Cranbrook Institute of Science, one such discovery in Sullivan Lake is just the incredibly rare piece to achieve such a goal, and it will be on display at a museum in Bloomfield Hills. It's the skull of an Eastern Elk, an extinct elk species that lived around 220 years ago and called southern Michigan home.
Found quite by accident, the skull somehow became hooked around the anchor of a swim platform belonging to Michael Bleau and his family. When they were able to get the skull to the surface, they knew they had something very unique on their hands. The skull was definitely bigger than that of a modern elk or deer. It was 43 inches wide, 50 inches tall, 24 inches deep.
When I read those measurements, I had to take a minute to process the information. Y'all. I'm 58 inches tall. I'm basically a head taller than this skull. The rest of this animal must have been terrifying to see up close. Of course, humans had guns so there was no need to get close. According to an article from Northern Woodlands, the Eastern Elk didn't shy away from settlers, and the combination of fire power and lack of fear were a deadly combination to the elk population, and they were killed off. However, researchers don't see trauma on the skull found in Sullivan Lake. As such, their assumption is the stag might have gotten stuck in thick mud and drowned, or fell through the ice.
If you want to see this one-in-a-million discovery, Cranbrook will reopen on August 26th, with free general admission through September 6th.