The 1,000-Mile Great Lakes Adventures

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Moose...in a Jar??

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.

Tiny bones...


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.

Tiny tooth

It was a molar from a herbivore, and there is only one herbivore on Isle Royale...
MOOSE.


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


Fetal bone


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.

2 comments:

  1. Great story. Funny find. My husband and I hiked Isle Royale on our honeymoon in Sept 1995. At age 40, it was my 2nd marriage and first backpacking trip. I got kind of hooked after that. We loved it. In 1995, there was a very large moose population on the island, and we got to see so many of them on the trails and in the lakes. Beautiful, special place. Thanks for your continued work and good stories.

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    1. Thanks for sharing your Isle Royale memories!

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