Did you know that mammoths used to roam what is now the state of Texas? Columbian mammoths, weighing 20, 000 pounds and as tall as 14 ft were part of the landscape of the area. When we were in Texas we were able to tour the Waco Mammoth National Park where fossil specimens can be viewed that are part of the nation’s first and only recorded evidence of a nursery herd of the ice age animals.
The educational site is home to many displays and interactive exhibits including a “dig site” for children which looked like it would be a lot of fun for school age kids. Your ticket includes a bookmark with a QR code that guides you to a virtual tour as well as a self tour of the actual dig shelter.
It all started in 1978, when Paul Barron and Eddie Bufkin went looking for arrowheads and artifacts near the Bosque River. They happened upon a huge bone which they uncovered and took to nearby Baylor University for examination. The scientists there identified it as a femur bone from a Columbian mammoth and from there history was made. The site was identified and a team began careful hand excavation of the site.
The nursery herd was uncovered between 1978 and 1990 and consisted of 16 Columbian mammoths. During 1990 and 1997 an additional 6 animals were found including one bull. Along with these the remains of a Western camel, dwarf antelope, American alligator, giant tortoise and the tooth of a juvenile saber-toothed cat were excavated next to an unidentified animal.
The scientists have come to conclude that the most likely reason for the animal deaths was due to entrapment by rapidly rising waters in the Bosque River. Whatever the reason, these animal bones are now preserved for visitors to view and it is really a pretty amazing thing to view bones that are 65,000 to 72,000 years old.
The walls of the building housing the dig site are adorned with some pretty amazing artwork.
The viewing area is easy to navigate and views from all angles are easy to access. It is definitely worth a stop if you are in the area.
There are a lot of informational signage in the facility that helps to explain all about the processes used to preserve the site and it was really interesting and well done.
While I don’t understand a lot of science and archeology, I did find this exhibit to be really interesting and intriguing. Have you been to this site before? I would love to hear your thoughts so please Comment for a Cause – AAUW Brevard Scholarship Fund.