Broward News

Ice Age Dig in Vero Beach to Determine Age of Fossils and Human Skull Fragments

Here's something you probably weren't aware of: There's a 13,000 years old dude buried in Vero Beach.

Archaeologists have been trying for years to excavate the fossilized pieces of a dead person known as "Vero Man," who was discovered 100 years ago buried among mastodons and saber-tooth cats.

On Monday, it looks like they'll finally get that wish granted.

Researchers from Mercyhurst University in Pennsylvania are signing an agreement that will allow them to excavate the Vero Man area in order to determine his and the animals' ages, and generally do other scientific things to it that will help us learn more about Florida's early man and animals.

Some scientists believe Vero Man isn't as old as the animals he's buried with, what with early man and dinosaurs not living on Earth at the same time and all, despite what any of us might have learned watching The Flintstones.

But analysis of the dig will help them determine the truth behind Vero Man.

The cool thing about this is that Vero Beach is one of the few places in the U.S. where a human skeleton has been discovered buried with prehistoric animal remains. Unless it turns out that Vero Man was just some regular guy that fell into a hole back in 1902 and died. That would be a bummer.

But the most likely scenario is that Vero Man is an honest-to-goodness prehistoric Ice Age guy who lived in the area roughly 11,000 to 13,000 years ago, according to archaeologists.

It was in 1915 that 66 human bone fragments were recovered in a canal bank near the county Administration Building.

Animal remains of around 120 species were also unearthed, along with a human skull.

There were so many fossils, in fact, that the area became a roadside tourist attraction called "Tarzan Park." People would go the park to pick out fossils from the ground as souvenirs.

Vero Man's skull eventually and mysteriously vanished, while the other fossils and remains were taken to the Florida Museum of Natural History.

What the Mercyhurst University researchers are hoping to do is excavate the area to be able to determine the age of the fossils and Vero Man himself.

Once the agreements are signed, the archaeological dig can commence.

It'll be a gay ol' time.

Send your story tips to the author, Chris Joseph. Follow Chris Joseph on Twitter

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Chris Joseph
Contact: Chris Joseph