Claim of Mammoth Bones Brings Treasure Hunters To NYC River: People would probably respond “mob boss” before they would consider finding mammoth bones if you asked them what you may find buried in the sludge at the bottom of New York City’s East River.
But after hearing a guest on comedian Joe Rogan’s podcast say that a boxcar’s worth of possibly rich prehistoric mammoth bones was dumped in the river in the 1940s, a number of parties of treasure hunters have turned to the canal in recent weeks.
Despite the absence of supporting evidence, treasure hunters have searched the murky waters with boats, diving equipment, and technology like remote-controlled cameras in the hopes of finding woolly mammoth tusks.
“I believe the chances are on par with winning the lottery. And people purchase those tickets on a daily basis,” added Don Gann, 35, a commercial diver from North Arlington, New Jersey, who has been diving since early last week with his brother and two employees.
It all began when John Reeves, an Alaskan gold miner who loves fossils, appeared on an episode of “The Joe Rogan Experience” on December 30 to discuss his land, where he had personally discovered countless ancient bones and tusks. When the land was previously owned, gold-seeking activities resulted in the discovery of a wealth of ancient animal remains.
Many years ago, some of that material was transported to New York City for transfer to the American Museum of Natural History. Reeves highlighted a report draft written by three persons, one of whom was a museum employee, that made mention of some fossils and bones that were deemed unfit for the museum being thrown into the river.
Reeves informed Rogan, “I’m going to start a bone rush,” before reading from the text and revealing the precise location: East River Drive, now known as the FDR Drive, at about 65th Street.
“We’ll see if anybody out there’s got a sense of adventure,” he said, later adding, “Let me tell you something about mammoth bones, mammoth tusks – they’re extremely valuable.”
The American Museum of Natural History threw cold water on the story after the episode aired.
“We do not have any record of the dumping of these fossils in the East River,” the museum stated in a statement. “We have also been unable to locate any trace of this report in the museum’s archives or other scientific sources.”
Reeves was reached by The Associated Press by phone, but he hung up after telling a reporter to read the pages of the manuscript he had shared on social media. Other calls and emails went unanswered by him.
Three men are identified as the authors of the pages shared on social media: anthropologist Richard Osborne, ex-American Museum of Natural History paleontologist Robert Evander, and archeologist Robert Sattler who works with a group of Alaska Native tribes.
When contacted by The Associated Press, Sattler claimed that the allegation of the bones that were dumped originated from Osborne, who passed away in 2005.
Reeves claimed that the document he had used was authentic and from the mid-1990s. But it wasn’t something created for a scholarly publication. It served as the basis for something—possibly a book—based on Osborne’s knowledge of a time when mammoth remains were frequently found in Alaska. The excavating was being done by a company where Osborne’s father worked.
As a young guy, Osborne spent time near the operation, according to Sattler, and most likely heard a rumor about extra bones being dumped in the river. Sattler claimed that aside from Osborne’s memories, he had no other details.
“He would have had some knowledge from somebody telling him that they dumped some excess material in the East River,” he said.
The American Museum of Natural History eventually acquired the mammoth remains found in Alaska, some of which are still on exhibit.
The East River Drive, subsequently called for President Franklin D. Roosevelt, was built on fill and pilings in the 1930s and 1940s, significantly altering the area of the Manhattan waterfront where Reeves believed the bones were deposited. 1942 saw the full opening of the roadway, which begged the question of how a massive cache of bones could have been dumped without impeding traffic.
In the time he has spent looking for mammoth remains out on the East River, Gann estimates that he has observed roughly two dozen additional groups of fossil hunters.
He claimed that the East River has terrible visibility. You can probably see one foot in front of you on a good day. At the bottom, there is a powerful current.
Although mammoth bones are clearly on a different scale than discovering a Paul Revere spoon at an estate sale, the enthusiastic diver who starred in Discovery’s “Sewer Divers” has a thing for looking for odd items.
“I’ve hunted for weird artifacts my entire life, so this one, it just kind of fits into my repertoire,” Gann said.
Although he and his team haven’t discovered anything, he confesses that this is disheartening, and it has inspired him to conduct some of his own historical research. He has shifted his focus to an area off of southern Brooklyn, claiming that this area would have been a more plausible spot for cargo to be dropped than the East River off of Manhattan.
“If I find nothing, then I find nothing. I gave it an honest shot,” Gann said. Follow Newswatchlist.com for more information. You can also leave your thoughts in the comment section, and don’t forget to bookmark our website.