Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Mammoth Redux

OK, there have been questions. They are answered if you plow through the whole mammoth website but who the he** is going to do that?

Is it a woolly mammoth? Probably not.
They have two kinds of mammoth known in Washington State, Columbia and Imperial. They've never found a woolly one there, but it could happen.
They don't know what kind this one is because the best bits to figure out the species are the teeth and tusks and they haven't found those.

Is it a whole mammoth or isolated bits?
Well, it's not a mummy of a whole mammoth.
It's many bones all in one area. While I was there they found their 14th rib. That is a lot. They have 2 humerus bones (upper arm/front leg), a femur (thigh), some foot bones, some vertebrae (spine bones), and some bone bits.

It's hard to get the bones out of the ground because they have become dust in the shape of bones. They cut a sample out of the bones (for testing for things like diet, density, etc) and then impregnate the bones with plastic/glue stuff. Then, someday, they can take the bones out of the ground. It can take weeks and weeks of work which translates into multiple field seasons which means multiple years.

They have found one bison bone in there. This is probably an extinct species of bison which is HUGE compared to current bison and TINY compared to mammoth.

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