It appears that mastodons walked the shores of Oso Creek in Flour Bluff over 25,000 years ago. According to a January 1, 1954, Corpus Christi Caller-Times article, the discovery of a large tooth weighing nearly 18 pounds led to the uncovering of an entire skeleton of the prehistoric elephant on the east bank of Oso Creek off Yorktown Boulevard.
Travis Berlet, civil engineer for the Houston Natural Gas Corporation, unearthed the tooth on his 11-acre property off Yorktown where the road crosses Oso Creek over the old Mud Bridge. According to the article, “He found part of the tooth sticking out of an eroded area back of his house. He broke part of it while digging it out.” Berlet, who was an authority on the subject, estimated the age of the mastodon based on the condition of the tooth. It was the second mastodon find by Berlet. The first was found in the clay banks of Galveston Bay near Kennah, Texas, in 1928.
Berlet said that his property lay in the midst of a geological fault that is believed to extend as far as Copano Bay. A fault is a fracture in the earth, usually caused by an earthquake. The Caller-Times reported that mastodons are found most frequently in faults because they wash up more easily. Berlet, who moved to Corpus Christi in 1941, said his mastodon was the first unearthed in the Flour Bluff area. The discovery occurred 62 years ago. At that time, Berlet planned on contacting Texas A & I in Kingsville and Del Mar College to see if anyone was interested in extracting the beast. For now, this is all that has been uncovered in terms of the story behind the article.
Retired from education after serving 30 years (twenty-eight as an English teacher and two years as a new-teacher mentor), Shirley enjoys her life with family and friends while serving her community, church, and school in Corpus Christi, Texas. She is the creator and managing editor of The Paper Trail, an online news/blog site that serves to offer a glimpse into the past and present of the little community of Flour Bluff. She wrote for The Flour Bluff Messenger, wrote and edited for The Texas Shoreline News, a Corpus Christi print newspaper that existed from December 2017 to April 2020, served as copy editor on three books, and continues to tutor students of all ages in the lively art of writing.