First grader finds 2,000-year-old bone - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

First grader finds 2,000-year-old bone

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MURPHYSBORO, Ill.-- A seven-year-old boy stumbled upon a major discovery on his family's property in southern Illinois.

Oliver Stoffel, a first grader at General John A. Logan Attendance Center, says his friends loved it, "They were like 'Wow!' and then all of them are like I found a bone once."

Mark Stoffel, Oliver's father, says "We were startled by the fact that it was a huge bone so it couldn't have been a deer or a coyote"

Oliver found the buried treasure while hiking on his family's property. 

Oliver explains, "Then when I was walking and following the creek I saw it. I jumped on the rocks across and then I picked it up"

When he found the bison bone he didn't realize how rare it was until he took it to school and showed one of his teachers.

Shirley Krienert, a kindergarten aide, says, "I was ecstatic, I was very very excited. I could tell by the weight that it might be old and so then I gave it my son who's a geologist at SIU."

It was Shirley's son who examined the bone and found not only was it the second documented bison bone found south of Saint Louis but it was more than 2,000 years old.

Mark Stoffel says, "It's a miracle in a way that stuff that gets preserved like that. It must have been buried in the mud or in the sand for a long time.

Oliver says, "I think it would be that it's a buffalo bone, that would be the coolest thing and I think the second coolest thing which would be it's almost 3,000 or 2,000 years old, like you weren't even alive at that time."

Oliver and his family now have an experience that will last a lifetime, "My brother's like, oh you're going to be rich soon. I might not be a scientist but I might just work for a scientist."

The family plans to bring the scientists who studied the bone back to where they found it and intend to produce a television segment about their find.

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