Bell Museum mammoth missing

Bell Mammoth display with police tape and mammoth missing

The University of Minnesota’s Bell Museum, Minnesota’s official natural history museum, reported this morning that its full-scale woolly mammoth has gone missing.

The mammoth, which was displayed in the Bell's Pleistocene Minnesota diorama, stands over 11-feet tall with nearly 8-foot tusks. As a live creature, it would have weighed six tons.

Investigators are still uncertain how it disappeared.

U of M Police Department Detective Jim Ford, who is leading the investigation, thinks it was stolen by thieves who went so far as to create mammoth footprints leading away from the exhibit, into the elevator, and out the front doors of the building, where even the door frame had been bent into the shape of the creature.

“The thieves evidently sought to cover their tracks by creating tracks in this ... mammoth attempt at trickery,” says Ford.

Investigators were not fooled.

“First of all, how would a mammoth push an elevator button?” says Ford. “Second, after sitting still for tens of thousands of years, why wouldn’t it take the stairs? It’s just ridiculous.”

Ford did admit that it is an odd coincidence that nearly all of the plant material within the building had been consumed. Additionally, the Curiosity Shop’s full stock of snacks had been emptied, the floor strewn with hundreds of wrappers.

Mammoth in Bell exhibit
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“Obviously, transporting the creature would have been a lot of work, and it appears our thieves required tens of thousands of calories to do the job,” says Ford.

The Bell Museum’s musk ox as well as Castoroides, a giant beaver that lived in North America during the Ice Age and that kept the mammoth company upon the 24-foot-high glacier in the exhibit, were also reported missing.

In other news, residents in a nearby Falcon Heights neighborhood reported that multiple garages were knocked down sometime in the night. Police have no suspects in custody.


Continue following this investigation.
University of Minnesota, Twin Cities