Fossilized Mammoth Tusk Disappears: Central Java

I can well remember my days at University when, during the holidays, I volunteered on a ‘dig’ in Central Australia in search of fossils. It was an enjoyable experience but not one to sway me from Anthropology to Palaeontology!. I can recall the excitement at finding a few bones in the red, dusty dirt. It was a few years later that an almost complete Dinosaur skeleton was found.

It would no doubt make me very annoyed had someone stolen some of those bones from the ‘dig’ at the time I was there. In Indonesia there are literally unsurmountable amounts of historical significance yet to be discovered. Scientists are continuously delving into various regions of the archipelago and it was in 2005 that an ancient Mammoth tusk was found.

Sadly, some moronic idiots whose mindset is more akin to what they procured illegally have stolen the Mammoth tusk. Here’s more from Suherdjoko:

Thieves have stolen a fossilized tusk of an ancient mammoth, some 700,000 years old, at the Patiayam archeological site in Terban village, in Kudus regency, Central Java.

The tusk, measuring 125 cm long and 10 cm in diameter, was believed to have been taken Tuesday from a house used to store unearthed fossils.

Tenggelas Police chief First Insp. Kumija told reporters over the weekend police were still investigating the case, but that preliminary investigations indicated insiders were involved.

“We have questioned five witnesses who knew where the fossilized tusk was stored. They are Sardi, the house watchman, Sancaka Dwi Supani, the local museum and historical section head, Mustofa and Bukhori, members of the Patiayam Preservation Association, and Rakijan, a local resident,” said Kumija.

He said the last person to see the fossil was Sardi, a day before it was stolen.

Thieves had broken into the house through a bamboo wall, he said, adding that attempts to dust for fingerprints failed, as many people had already visited the crime scene. He blamed the local cultural and tourism office for not immediately reporting the crime.
He said witness statements had been contradictory. For example, Sardi reported he had only been given one key by Sancaka, but Sancaka said he had given him two.

The theft was discovered Wednesday morning when Sardi found the shelf where the fossil had been stored empty.

Head of the Patiayam community group Mustofa said the house kept many fossils, such as deer teeth, a buffalo skull and elephant feet, but thieves only got away with the elephant tusk.

Local farmer Kasnawi found the fossilized tusk in 2005, in an area where many ancient animal and human fossils have been unearthed.

Local residents say Dutch scientists used to visit the Patiayam archeological site long ago, when a number of Dutch researchers would often ascend Patiayam Hill in search of fossils the locals call balung buta, or giant bones.

Scientists say a 50- to 200-meter wide river once ran through the Bukit Patiayam area, which is dotted with swamps and grass plains.

So far the area has given rise to 20 excavation sites. The Slumprit mountain range and its surroundings have revealed many ancient fossils, some dating back 500,000 to one million years.

The Yogyakarta Archeological Center last month unearthed an ancient elephant skeleton and three stone axes used by primeval humans. The discovery strongly suggests Patiayam was an area populated by prehistoric humans and animals.