08 February 2012

Diggin' In The Dirt

Evelyn, Claire and I were looking for a new sort of adventure today.  Luckily for us, we discovered the Waco Mammoth Site.  I think what's there is pretty self-explanatory.
During the ice age, Waco in particular was a pretty happenin' place for the enormous animals that roamed.  Giant sloths that stood twenty feet tall, camels towering over their descendants at twelve feet,  short-nosed bears that were twice the size of grizzlies today and, of course, Columbian mammoths that were among the largest of the species ranged the grasslands here.  For those who know who Archie is at Elephant hall in Lincoln, he's currently the largest mounted specimen of the Columbian mammoths.
Unfortunately, there were at least three major flash floods that caught a few herds by surprise over several thousand years.  Their skeletal remains give interesting insights into their history.  One male had a broken rib that was healing before he died, probably from battling during mating season since he was with a group of girls.  A petite female was discovered to be malnourished by the examination of her tusks and teeth--she was only half the size she should've been for her age.  In one tragic scene, researchers theorize a mother was trying to help her young calf out of the mud when they uncovered her with a baby scooped in her tusks.
I could go on and on about what we learned today, like how they had six sets of teeth throughout their lifetime or that their bones, regardless of time, would never have become fossils.  I'll suffice it to say that it's pretty amazing what they've found by just diggin' in the dirt.

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