Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Why Only Male Mammoths?

Location: Three Flags RV Park (el 3,650 ft); Black Hawk, South Dakota

(click pictures to enlarge)
(all pictures taken with Nokia Lumia 929 cell phone)

Yesterdays exploration was to Hot Springs, South Dakota to check out an active, on going, Paleontology dig.

A quick history of the location:
1) 26,000 +/- years ago, a sink hole forms and fills with water. The edges of this newly created "pond" are steep, muddy and slippery. 
2) Animal of all sorts (mammoths, camels, wolves, bears, etc) come to the pond to drink. Some fall in and can't get out due to the slippery banks. Obviously, some got out or there would be more fossils.
3) The ones who couldn't get out sink to the bottom and are covered in silt as the sink hole dries up and is filled with calcium carbonate rich material which helps preserve the bones and "cement" the area.
4) Over 1,000's of years, the ground around the now filled and cemented pond erodes away leaving the cemented area as a moderate hill.
5) Sometime in the recent past, the property owner begins to build a sub-division by leveling the hill. Bones are found, he stops work, calls the experts, they all get excited, he sells the property to the city of Hot Springs and scientific excavation begins. 
6) After discovering many different animals, the sight is enclosed so excavation can be done year round. 
7) Tickets go on sale for the public to see the excavation and bones. I show up, buy a ticket and see the sights. 

So far they have found 61 mammoth skeletons. Some are woolly mammoths and others are Colombian mammoths. But the one thing they have in common is that they are all males. Why is that? Why didn't the female mammoths fall in? Were the males showing off for the ladies and got trapped? Were the guys picking flowers for the ladies from the edge of the pond and fell in? Perhaps the ladies pushed the guys in. No one knows. Another one of those "inquiring minds want to know" things.

I won't caption each picture because it would be the same for each,,,, "Bones". 

It was an interesting visit.

Today is traveling day but it will a very short haul. I'll be heading about 60 miles to the town of Wall, South Dakota. I'll be there for 3 day while exploring the Black Hills and sightseeing Wall Drugs.  

Ya'll take care of each other. I'll Cya down the road.   

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