The Mammoth Site
The Mammoth Site
Travel back to the time when Ice Age mammoth, camel, and giant short-faced bear roamed the Great Plains of North America. Imagine a sudden collapse of a large karst sinkhole. Bubbling from the bottom of this 60 foot sinkhole, a warm spring percolates through the layers of limestone, creating a steep-sided pond. Picture thirsty animals venturing down to the water below...then, after drinking, the animals were unable to gain a foothold to escape. The sinkhole was a deathtrap.
Now imagine that gradually, over 700 years, the pond filled with silt, sediment, and animals. With each layer of silt and sediment, the animal remains were covered and protected. For 26,000 years the bones lay buried until 1974, when earth moving equipment exposed South Dakota's greatest fossil treasure. Fortunately, through the work of local citizens, the Mammoth Site was preserved and today is the world's largest Columbian mammoth exhibit and research center for Pleistocene studies.
Open year round, the Mammoth Site offers the museum visitor a 30 minute guided tour plus a 10 minute video. Tour information features the Mammoth Site and Ice Age geology, paleontology, and paleoecology. Today, visitors to the museum observe first-hand a scientific excavation. During the month of July Earthwatch volunteers, under the direction of Dr. Larry Agenbroad, excavate, identify and study the Ice Age fossils. (Earthwatch is a worldwide non-profit organization that provides individuals the opportunity to volunteer at different scientific and research sites around the world.)
The Mammoth Site's shelter is constructed of 121 mammoth bone replicas: 74 mammoth jaws, 6 half-pelvi, 9 scapulae, 2 femora, 12 tibias, 8 ribs, 6 humeri, 2 skulls, 2 tusks, 8 bison hides (couldn't find any mammoth hides), a variety of poles, plus lots of rawhide and leather strapping.
Pictures and information were provided by the Mammoth Site
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