Monterey's First Mammoth

10,000 years ago what was walking on the land you are on right now?  It turns out in a recent find that a mammoth was in Monterey county on the California coastline ten millennia ago. As is frequently the case, the bones were revealed while tilling agricultural land for the planting season. Mark Hylkema, Santa Cruz District archaeologist for the state Department of Parks, spoke with Kevin Howe of the Monterey County Herald about the find, which could indicate that more fossils might be buried in the area.

Hylkema described teeth, tusks and bones as still porous and in good condition

“There were three types of bone conditions noted,” Hylkema reported. “Fragments of ivory tusk, regular looking bone fragments and some that were discolored as though charred or lithified.”

If the bones are charred, he said, it could indicate human association with the remains. Some bone fragments were taken for radiometric tests to determine how old they are.

…The soil level and composition in which they were found indicates that the mammoth died 10,000 to 25,000 years ago, Hylkema said.

Another exciting collection of Ice Age fossils was uncovered last fall at the site of a popular ski resort in the Colorado Rockies. You can see some great photographs from that discovery on the National Geographic website.

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