Monday, March 18, 2013

Mammoth Site Field Trip

Last week we packed our lunches and drove to Waco, Texas for a  (way cool) field trip to see an active, archaeological dig site.

(Education center/ ticket center.)

The dig site is in that climate controlled building you see in the above picture.  Right under the bridge is a ravine in which the first bone was discovered.

The rocks in the next picture mark the the spot where the two teenagers, Paul and Eddie, found that first bone while searching for arrowheads.

Over the course of 20 years, scientists have (so far) uncovered the remains of 24 Colombian mammoths becoming the second largest site in the world!

The largest "mammoth" site  is in Siberia.  BUT!  Those are all Woolly mammoths.  This site is all Colombian mammoths.  This makes Waco, Texas  the largest Colombian mammoth site in the world.

Pretty cool.

68,000 years ago, this area of Texas was grasslands/plains.  There was no "ice" in this area during the Ice Age since the perma frost went only as far south as Kansas.

Colombian mammoths (as depicted in this artist's painting,  are NOT the same as the Woolly mammoths found in the northern hemisphere.  So, if you are thinking Ice Age, the movie, these a guys and gals are not the same.

Fact ::

An Asian elephant is larger than the Woolly mammoth.

An African elephant is larger than the Asian elephant.

And the Colombian mammoth is 3 feet taller than the African elephant - at the shoulder!!

At the shoulder, Colombian mammoths (bulls) are 14 ft tall.  Females are 12 ft tall at the shoulder.

Our guide, who was a wealth of knowledge,  told us that scientists can only "guess" what the skin and fur (if any) would have looked like.

See, it is much warmer down here than up in where the Woolly mammoth have been discovered, complete.  There was no snow and ice to perfectly entomb a Colombian mammoth.  The heat and sun decayed most of the animal.  The bones are "sub" fossilized.  Extremely fragile.

Therefore, they've never discovered the skin/fur of the Colombian mammoth.

At this point, Miss Clementine started making a bit of noise so I had to move on with her.  I missed about 1/2  of the presentation.    However, I did manage to take some photos of the dig site.

This next photo is of the camel bones found.

This "camel" is not like the modern day camel that we see.  It looks more like a llama-type animal.  Llamas are used in farming in South American and in Texas today.

Scientists believe a fast flood wiped the heard out.  There were NO human remains or artifacts in that area.

What about a wild beast, like a saber-tooth?  Well, they were known to attack mammoths that were alone, not in a heard.

Another important find...the females mammoths were in a somewhat circular pattern with the babies in the middle.  A sign of protection.

Finally, from the layers of the sediment...they found at least three, possibly five major flood levels.  


This trip was incredible!!  My teens admitted that when I first informed them we were going to see the mammoths, they were not too thrilled.  After the tour though, they thought it was very cool.  I had some happy campers driving home :)

More information on the Waco Mammoth Site can be found here.


Have a great week!

~  Patty  ~


  1. Patty...what an amazing day! I find this fascinating...thank you for sharing this. This sort of information always boggles my mind! I will be sure to share this with the kids...and love the pictures!

  2. Whoa. What an awesome field trip! WAY cool. Way to have fun while on spring vacation and still learn too.

  3. What a fun field trip!! So fun to see you in such warm weather....longing for our snow to melt! You are looking great!

    My kids would love this!

  4. This looks incredible! What an awesome field trip! I never realized how big mammoths actually are - wow!!

  5. Very fun field trip! A Wolly Mammoth was found about 15 minutes from our house here in Michigan :) It's at a U of M museum. So glad you had a fun day and that even the big kids liked it!

  6. This sounds like an amazing field trip! Love the photo of you and Clementine:)


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