Loreen Niewenhuis is an author, adventurer, and Great Lakes speaker. She has completed a trilogy of 1,000-mile adventures exploring the Great Lakes and has written three books about the Great Lakes [A 1,000-Mile Walk on the Beach *a Heartland Indie Bestseller*, A 1,000-Mile Great Lakes Walk *winner of the Great Lakes Great Reads Award*, and A 1,000-Mile Great Lakes Island Adventure]. To learn more about her work, or to book her as a speaker, go to http://LakeTrek.com
The primary purpose of Moosewatch Expeditions on Isle Royale is to locate moose bones and carry them back to the scientists.
On this year's hike, our team found something unique: an entire moose skeleton that fit in a jar.
Rolf Peterson holds the "Moose in a Jar"
We found these tiny bones on a hillside near Dustin Lake. They were near a large ant hill and had all been meticulously cleaned...presumably by the hard working ants.
It took us some time to figure out what creature these bones were from. They were not fully ossified, so we wondered if they were avian...or some small mammal.
But then we found a tooth.
It was a molar from a herbivore, and there is only one herbivore on Isle Royale...
Tiny MOOSE bones
We deducted that this was a moose miscarriage, one that happened during the winter, of a fetus still a few months shy of fully formed.
Adult moose molar next to the fetal molar
A bull moose skull can weigh around 10 pounds. If the antlers are attached, it can weigh over 20 pounds.
It was amusing to present Dr. Peterson with this unique find: a moose in a jar.