A group of Mississippi hunters who shot and killed an alligator weighting 910 pounds (413 kilograms) on Sunday, were amazed when they discovered that the animal already bore injuries caused by musket ammunition from the Civil War era. A total of 9 spherical projectiles was found, and the various tests and analysis realized on them have confirmed that they were indeed fired at the animal in the 19th Century.
Nine of the wounds on the animal are believed to have been caused by Enfield Pattern 1853 rifle-muskets. These old injuries were concentrated around the animals tail and hind legs, suggesting that the reptile could have possibly been used as a target for shooting practise by Confederate troops.
The huge animal also bore five other bullet wounds from three different calibers of hunting rifles, as well as many dents and scars, which shows that it survived many firearm injuries in the past. It did not however, survive the six .50-caliber bullets fired at him by the group of amateur hunters from Jackson, who were finally able to take it down.
The bullets were confirmed as authentic musket ammunition from between 1850 and 1870.
This incredible animal specimen brings a whole new perspective on this large crocodile reptile endemic to the southeastern United States. American alligators have been known for years to live well over 50 years and were thought capable of possibly living as long as 70 of 80 years, but this unique specimen was estimated to have been 185 years old at the time of its death.
Other reptiles like turtles, have been known to have lifespans of over 150 years, but it is the first specimen of crocodilian of such an old age ever found. It is also one of the biggest alligators ever killed in the United States. The heaviest ever recorded, weighing in at a staggering 1,011.5 lbs, was pulled out of a river in Alabama in August of this year.