Ames police are trying to determine the age of a human skull found Tuesday in the center of the city near the Skunk River. Commander Geoff Huff says the skull was found around eight o’clock.

“They were a little surprised to find it, it was kind of sticking up out of the sand on a sand bar. And the area were it was found would have been under water when we got all the heavy rain — probably about five or six feet underwater when we were really getting hit by rain,” Huff says.

“Our belief is that it probably washed down from somewhere north of us.” He says the skull was the only thing found. “Our investigators went out, we did search the area, we picked up one other fragment that looks like it’s a part of the skull, but nothing else,” Huff says.

He says the skull appears to be older, but they are checking to try and find out more. “We have taken it down to the state medical examiner’s office. They did look at it this morning and they were able to determine that it is human. They felt it was probably very old,” Huff explains.

“They have sent it off now to a forensic anthropologist to try and determine exactly how it is and maybe they might be able to tell us something else about it.” The report from the anthropologist will determine what happens next.

Huff says they are hoping to get back with them before too long to let them know what they have. “We obviously want to know how old this is –whether it’s a matter of 10 years or 300 years — it’s really difficult to tell just from looking at it,” Huff says. “Once we get some guidance from them on how old it is, that will king of guide us on what we should be doing next.”

The conditions on the river where the skull was found have changed dramatically the past several months, going from a very low flow in last year’s drought, to overflowing this spring with the rain.