April 15, 2000
Fisherman finds remains of prehistoric mammal in Mexican lake bed

                   GUADALAJARA, Mexico (AP) -- A fisherman has found the fossil remains of a
                   prehistoric tusk-bearing mammal along the shores of Lake Chapala just outside
                   this city in central Mexico.

                   The finding may be the first complete fossil skeleton found in the area, about 37
                   miles south of Guadalajara. Paleontologists at Mexico's National Anthropology
                   and History Institute, who have just started unearthing the bones, so far have
                   identified the tusks, spinal column and leg bones of a mastodon, a mammal
                   distinguished from prehistoric elephants by its tooth structure.

                   A fisherman walking across the dried up section of the lake spotted something
                   sticking out of the dirt Wednesday. After brushing away the dirt, he realized
                   there were numerous bones and notified authorities.

                   Mastodons walked the earth from the Oligocene period occurring from 25
                   million to 40 million years ago to the Pleistocene period, which ended about the
                   time of the last ice age 10,000 years ago.

                   Mexican authorities have cordoned off the area while they await the arrival of
                   more paleontologists to recover all the bones. Lake Chapala is home to thousands
                   of retired Americans and Canadians and is possibly the largest community of
                   North American expatriates in the world.

                   Copyright 2000 The Associated Press.