Black Hills: The Mammoth Site

One afternoon, we took a drive south to visit a large mammoth site. A local developer was clearing land for a new home development when a piece of equipment scraped the top of a bone. The bones turned out to be from a Mammoth. Further investigation proved that there were many more bones in the surrounding area. A non-profit organization was set up to take over the site and its study. The homes were never built.

Initially, they would excavate in the summer and then recover the site in the winter to prevent erosion. Eventually, a large building was erected over the entire site to allow continuous study and to accommodate visitors. The site is about the size of a basketball court and is believed to have been a form of sinkhole which managed to trap numerous mammoths.

Most of the building is taken up by areas being excavated and there are pathways built over the dig for tours. The pit is literally packed with mammoth bones, with a few other miscellaneous animals thrown in for fun. It looks there will be decades of work documenting all the artifacts in this site.

This is a good shot of mammoth teeth. They are designed to grind up plant matter.

mammoth01

I believe this is a nearly complete mammoth skeleton.

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Mammoth skull staring right at the camera.

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The swirls frozen in this sandstone are mammoth footprints. They were created by the mammoths feet disturbing the once soft mud.

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