Search the Community
Showing results for tags 'columbian mammoth'.
Found 1 result
It was a long day, but a good one. I took my kids to 2 museums of sorts today. I drove the 2 hours down to the Waco mammoth site, which is now a National Monument as of 2015. It was cool to see and reasonably nice. It was very clean and neat, maybe just a bit too much so since it is supposed to be an active dig site. They have a very small visitors center combo gift shop, maybe 10 people could be in there at once. There are guided tours maybe every 30 min or so. Our guide was a National Park ranger in uniform. The was one other in uniform and a third not in uniform, who could have been a student. There is a nice paved path through lightly wooded Texas scrub as I call it. The path is good for the handicapped or stroller toting parent. They had little booklets for the junior ranger sorts with pics of plants and other life that may be found along the way, with coloring pages and facts about mammoths. Dogs were allowed on a leash. Just a few yards down the path is a 250 year old Texas live oak tree. I was actually a bit on the disappointed side with it. Part of that is because I’ve been to the South Dakota mammoth site, which is well developed. Those are wooly mammoths though, not the Columbian mammoths we have in Texas, which are considerably larger. The other part that probably had something to do with me being a bit disappointed was that I had expectations of seeing excavated mammoths on display. The dig site has been open and running for over 40 yrs. The initial discovery was made in 1978 by two teens out looking for arrowheads. 23 mammoths were excavated between 1978 to 1997. Per the website "Between 1978 and 1990, the fossil remains of 16 Columbian mammoths were discovered. Their efforts uncovered a nursery herd that appears to have died together in a single natural event. Between 1990 and 1997, six additional mammoths were excavated, including a large male (bull). Crews also uncovered the remains of a Western camel (Camelops hesternus), dwarf antelope, American alligator, giant tortoise, and the tooth of a juvenile saber-toothed cat (Smilodon sp.), which was found next to an unidentified animal." So I had the expectation that at least one of the mammoths would be mounted and on display. I believe many of the mammoths are complete. Our guide, a National Park ranger was very new and didn’t know much. Her answer to where are the bones of the 23+ was “They’re in plaster casts at Baylor.” You’d think after all that time and the big paleontology program they have at Baylor something would have been prepped and put on display by now. This is one of the females that is in the process of excavation, but I have a feeling she has been in the process of excavation since she is one of the 23 and the website says the other 6 were discovered by 1997. So, it seems it is not really an active dig site. You can see her teeth there. Sorry the pic isn't that sharp. The lighting inside was very low. This is mammoth Q a male. Supposedly he died 15,000 years later than the female, but there is all of maybe 2.5 between them vertically and maybe 5 feet horizontally. There is a creek maybe 40 feet way, the Brazos River is less than a mile away and the North Fork Bosque River is on the property. Water moves dirt. I seriously doubt there was 15,000 years between 2.5 feet of dirt in a flood plane, which it is in a flood zone. The mammoth bones are not fully mineralized. They are bone and kind of the consistency of chalk and therefore fairly fragile. I think they said this one would have been 14 feet maybe 7 inches tall. He was an average size male. The males are much bigger than the females. This is Q from the other end. Two females are to the right. Parts of 2 males are in front of him. Not all of them are in the pic. The column in the middle there is the reference column. The top of which is supposedly ground level. So it does not seem the male was that deep down in the dirt. The brakes in the ribs and the crushed skull are believed to have happened at the time of his death. There is a broken rib that healed while the mammoth was still living. That break is circled in red. They believe it was most likely due to a fight between bull mammoths where another male's tusks broke the rib which likely resulted in an infection, which healed. The skull is in the foreground. You can see it is crushed in. These are parts of the 2 other male mammoths. The two leg bones together are believed to be one of the individuals. That is all that has been excavated of him from what I gathered, but the guide said those two bones had been accounted for among the other 22 mammoths. This is another female. She is actually in a natural position and they say that she laid like this, because she knew she was not well or was going to die. Sorry for the quality of the pic. But this is a camel skeleton. The skull is in a plaster cast in the bottom kind of center. Signs say as much as I can. I'll post a bit more in the next post.