If you’ve never had the opportunity to go fossil hunting, it really is an interesting thing to do. Most of us are happy if we find a small fossil after hunting all day but imagine if you found an ancient fossil of colossal size.

That was what happened recently east of Sacramento in the Mokelumne River watershed. A local government Ranger was out in the area when he happened to find the fossilized remains of an ancient mastodon. It would’ve been an interesting find on its own but considering the fact that he actually found it inside of a petrified forest makes it all that more interesting.

This find is thought to be some 10 million years old and Greg Francek, a Ranger at the East Bay municipality utility district is the lucky man who found it. There were the remains of a fossilized tree that was half-buried in the soil and when he looked around, he found a second tree.

According to a statement, he found a third tree and even more before eventually finding dozens of trees in the area. Suddenly, he realized that there was an entire petrified forest right there in front of him.

In the United States, there are 19 different petrified forests. Some of them are relatively small but others are large enough to make into a national Park. It took three weeks of looking before he was able to find the first vertebrae fossil. It was relatively small, and it was broken in three places.

He then said: “What I didn’t comprehend at the time was the amazing fact that I was looking at the bones of great beasts that had roamed this landscape millions of years ago.”

Once he made the discovery, he reached out to a paleontology expert and a team came from California State University came quickly. They started to look at the fossils, which were quite interesting.

They found bones of an ancient elephant, rhino, camel, horses, tortoises, and a toothed salmon that would have weighed in at 400 pounds. It is the largest discovery in the state of California.

One of the more interesting finds was an American mastodon skull, and it was complete. It was the first discovery to be found in the area since 1947. It took eight people and four days of work to get it on the truck and then the 12,000-year-old fossil was off for more research.

Since this discovery, state and federal government protections have locked down the area. It will be interesting to see what they discover next.