Divers scour NYC’s East River for mammoth bones following Joe Rogan podcast

Divers scour NYC's East River for mammoth bones following Joe Rogan podcast

There’s a “bone rush” on the East River.

Treasure hunters are scouring the city’s murky waterway for prehistoric mammoth bones — lured by a suggestion from a guest on Joe Rogan’s podcast that a trove of valuable artifacts could be lurking there.

Expeditions on the East River started after Alaskan gold miner and fossil enthusiast John Reeves appeared Dec. 30 on the popular podcast — and citied a draft of a report by a former American Museum of Natural History worker referencing fossils and bones dumped in the river in the 1940s.

“I’m going to start a bone rush,” Reeves said before alerting would-be hunters the alleged trove would be around the FDR Drive and East 65th Street.

“We’ll see if anybody out there’s got a sense of adventure,” Reeves said, later adding: “Let me tell you something about mammoth bones, mammoth tusks — they’re extremely valuable.”

After the podcast, museum officials said the claims were flat-out bogus. Yet some intrepid explorers who took to the river with boats, diving apparatuses and technology like remote-operated cameras were not deterred.

The East River viewed from the Upper East Side.
Gold miner John Reeves referenced fossils and bones dumped in the East River in the 1940s.

The East River viewed from the Upper East Side.
Over two dozen groups of fossil hunters have been spotted searching the river since the podcast.


Commercial diver Don Gann, 35, had scoured the waters between Manhattan and Brooklyn for almost two weeks with his brother and two workers.

“I think the chances are just as good as the lottery. And people buy those tickets every day,” said Gann, seemingly unaware the odds of winning the Powerball are 1 in 292 million — and the most a woolly mammoth skeleton had ever sold for was $645,000.

The draft Reeves cited and posted online was written in the mid 1990s by Richard Osborne, an anthropologist; Robert Evander, who formerly worked in the American Museum of Natural History’s paleontology department; and Robert Sattler, an archeologist with a consortium of Alaska Native tribes.

Sattler told the Associated Press the story about the dumped bones came from Osborne’s father — who worked for a digging company that unearthed mammoth remains in Alaska.

A skeleton of Mammuthus.
American Museum of Natural History officials said the claims of fossils in the river were flat-out bogus.
A skeleton of Mammuthus.
John Reeves claims that the alleged remains would be around FDR Drive and East 65th Street.

“He would have had some knowledge from somebody telling him that they dumped some excess material in the East River,” he said.

Some mammoth bones found in Alaska are still on display at the Upper West Side museum, but officials denied that they knew of any surplus stock being tossed in the river.

“We do not have any record of the disposal of these fossils in the East River, nor have we been able to find any record of this report in the museum’s archives or other scientific sources,” the museum said in a statement following the podcast.

Gann said he had seen about two dozen other groups of fossil hunters on the river during his expeditions.

"Effie," the mummified remains of a baby woolly mammoth found in in Alaska.
“Effie,” the mummified remains of a baby woolly mammoth found in in Alaska in 1948.

Visibility in the saltwater tidal estuary is very poor, and the current in the bottom is strong, according to the diver.

“I’ve hunted for weird artifacts my entire life, so this one, it just kind of fits into my repertoire,” he said.

“If I find nothing, then I find nothing. I gave it an honest shot.”

With Post wires

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