Mammoths

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Geologyrocks
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Thom talked about reasons for mammoth’s extinction briefly on the show yesterday.  He made the common mistake of referring to mammoths generically as "Woolly Mammoths" as if all mammoths were woolly mammoths.  Not that it matters to why they went extinct, but there were several types of mammoths in North America alone. 

The attached Youtube video link presents a slide show of the excavation of two juvenile Columbian mammoths excavated southeast of Death Valley by Sonoma State University (SSU) students over the winter break of 1982/83.  The mammoths were found by four SSU geology students over the spring break of 82.  The students spent the next several months obtaining funding, donations, an excavation permit from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and student volunteers to excavate and display the mammoth.

The mistake of calling all mammoths as woolly mammoths was nothing compared to the one they realized they made after returning to campus.  Upon opening the blaster casts of bones, they found they had two left shoulder blades and two left pelvises (thus the two where they thought they had one).

If you watch the video, look carefully at the picture of the in-place tusks.  You will note a smashed section on one of the tusks.  It was realized back at the campus that the damaged section of the juvenile mammoth tusk matched exactly the distal end of an adult mammoth leg bone that was found lying just beyond and below the tusks, indicating that the juvenile was in place when an adult mammoth bone washed downstream, hit the tusk and flipped over and beyond it. 

The people of the nearby towns of Tecopa and Shoshone called us the “Hippy Bone Diggers”.  We may not have the hair we once had, but the bones, which were on display at SSU for several years, are now on display at the Shoshone museum.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QDsNUWou_Uk