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My 2012 South Dakota Trip
Exploring the Black Hills of South Dakota.
We are now visiting the Mammoth site in Hotsprings, South Dakota and go back 26000 years in history.
Stand on the edge of discovery and walk where mammoths, bears, and other Ice Age animals walked...
More than 26,000 years ago, large Columbian and woolly mammoths were trapped and died in a spring-fed pond near what is now the southwest edge of Hot Springs, South Dakota.
For centuries the bones lay buried, until discovered by chance in 1974 while excavating for a housing development, earth moving equipment exposed South Dakota's greatest fossil treasure.
Fortunately, through the work of local citizens, the Mammoth Site was preserved. Today it is the world's largest Columbian mammoth exhibit, and a world-renown research center for Pleistocene studies.
Now enclosed and protected by a climate controlled building, the sinkhole and the in-situ exhibit of mammoth bones attracts visitors year round. The bones are displayed as they were discovered, in the now dry pond sediments for an "in-situ" exhibit. Walkways allow visitors a close-up view of the fossils. To date, 60 mammoths have been identified, along with the remains of a Giant short-faced bear, camel, llama, prairie dog, wolf, fish, and numerous invertebrates
Currently the insitu excavation is at 23 feet depth and sofar 60 mammoth have been site. A test core drill down stopped at 61 feet. So who knws what more will be found over the years as they dig the remaining 40 or so feet.
I had the privilege of walking down into the dig and touch the 26000 year old earth. Maybe I am an old sentimental fool, but to me it was a very emotional experience.