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Why artist erected giant mastodon sculpture on Bowen Island

Mastodon in the forest

B.C.'s Bowen Island is home to a statuesque prehistoric beast created by a local artist. 

An image of the stately sculpture was shared on Reddit by user FullTiltWard this week, who says they found the "hidden mastodon sculpture" on an art treasure hunt day.

At the time of this writing, the image had been up-voted nearly 300 times. 

Mastodons were prehistoric relatives of the woolly mammoth. 

Mastodons came into existence earlier than mammoths and were shorter. They also didn't have the characteristic "hump" that mammoths did. 

Titled "The Mastodon Project," B.C. artist Guthrie Gloag, who also holds a BSc in Biology from the University of Victoria, writes: "This sculpture is like nothing I’ve ever made before. It’s of an animal that has been extinct for approximately ten to twelve thousand years, likely because of human pressures."

Gloag notes that the titans were once widespread across North America, and hopes that people who see the sculpture will reflect on animals living today that could be lost due to human impacts.

"The American mastodon, which is what I’ve created, is the first species that scientists recognized as having gone extinct. In this way, they are fundamental to our understanding of extinction," he explains.

According to Gloag, the sculpture is over eight-and-a-half feet at the shoulder and likely weighs over two thousand pounds. 

The sculpture's exact location is a local secret.

"Partly, I like the magic of people knowing it exists but not knowing where. I love the idea of someone stumbling upon it in the woods," writes Gloag.

"But I’m also scared that history will repeat itself, and the mastodon will be damaged."



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