This week Tristan, 15, was walking along the Smith River in rural Cascade County with his brothers Trentan, 13, and Kaleb, 13, when he spotted a skull out of the corner of his eye. He collects them, and cow and wild animal skulls decorate his family’s garden.
“I like to find skulls. They’re cool,” he said. “Then I noticed it was not an animal skull.”
The bare skull, up against the base of a boulder, still had four teeth. Investigation eventually established the skull belonged to an indigenous woman who was about 30 years old and died 200 to 14,000 years ago, the Montana Burial Preservation Board reported. The remains were found along with a stone tool.
When he saw that the skull was human, “I thought, what is this — no it can’t be true,” Tristan said. “I was shocked.”
Then the boys noticed a wolf — “larger than any coyote” — “just sitting there like a dog and watching us,” he said. “Then it started running. I got freaked out even more.”
The boys high-tailed from the river.