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This page last updated: 03/14/2011.

 

Mammoth Dig -- Hot Spings SD

Known locally as The Mammoth Dig the Mammoth Site is a unique enclosed palentogical site.

The Uniqueness of the Mammoth Dig

A unique geographical feature caused a death trap for mammoths thousands of years ago. A warn spring created a pond in a sink hole with steep sides, which meant every mammoth that went down to the water could not get back out.

All 52 Columbian Mammoth and 3 Wooly Mammoths found in this death trap were males, and probably young. Females stayed with the herd, and the matriarch led the herd away from dangers. While females had a wiser female to learn from, males had to learn on their own or die trying. At least 55 died before they could learn.

There may be more mammoths waiting to be discovered, but do not expect a female to be found.

Other animals were also caught, such as this giant small faced bear. With its claws, the bear should have been able to climb out easily. Perhaps he wanted to feed on dying mammoth and the mammoth was not quite as dead as the bear expected.

The Mammoth Site is unique. The fossil bones are left where they were found so visitors can see them as the paleontologists found them. Exceptions are made for extremely valuable fossils, such as the head of the giant small faced bear. A replica is used in such cases.

A good tour guide can make your visit a fascinating rainy day activity.

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