VERO BEACH — The famous Vero fossil, carved with what scientists believe is the image of a mastodon, went on display Monday at the Vero Beach Art Museum’s Stark Rotunda and will be open for public viewing through Sunday. This might be the only chance for locals to see the bone since it will go on auction this spring, and depending on who purchases it, could end up in a personal collection, never to be seen in public again. Residents finally got a chance to see the bewitching image of a homegrown elephant, at least 12,000 years old, that has made headlines around the world. Standing in line patiently after months of news stories, visitors are only allowed in the museum’s rotunda 10 at a time.
“It’s fascinating” and “impressive” said Barbara Newbarth of the Art Museum’s Board of Trustees, who was there at the opening of the exhibit. She pointed out a video that accompanies the bone helps viewers see the actual image more clearly, directing the eye and presenting the carving in lighting from a variety of angles so the real thing can more readily be recognized. “It’s amazing to know you are looking at something thousands of years old.”
The animal depicted is moving along, it seems, its tusks large, the trunk hanging limp, the eye almost closed. The domed shape of the body suggests a mammoth, but the small remnant of a tattered ear suggests a mastodon. Both creatures once called our city home.