Denver Museum of Nature & Science Field Report from
Snowmass Village: Monday, November 8, 2010
Note to Reporters and Editors: Every afternoon,
the Denver Museum of Nature & Science will issue an update
about the fossil excavation taking place at Ziegler Reservoir near
Snowmass Village, Colorado. In addition to this e-mail, watch for
another e-mail with links to the still images shot today, and a
third e-mail that will allow you to download video.
Today: Dig crews from the Denver Museum of Nature
& Science discovered a second Columbian mammoth at the Ziegler
Reservoir Ice Age fossil dig site today. The animal was found in
the top of a peat layer not far from the first mammoth uncovered at
the site on October 14. After several hours of excavation, dig
crews have identified the mammoth's jaw, teeth, and tusks at the
front of its skull.
Besides the second mammoth, excavation crews had good luck finding
tusks today. Right next to the newly discovered mammoth, dig crews
found a small tusk fragment, possibly from a mammoth. If confirmed,
the mammoth count at the dig site would be three. Another crew
working alongside bull dozers in a different location of the dig
site recovered a tusk from an American mastodon.
Also today, Dr. Dan Fisher, a mastodon expert from the University
of Michigan, took one final look at the first Columbian mammoth
found on October 14 before leaving to return home. The Museum crew
has been taking an archaeological approach to the dig using a grid
to guide the excavation of peat from around the bones.
Now that much of the mammoth has been exposed, scientists are
getting a better perspective about the bones in the ground and they
are finding an unusual pattern. Crews have unearthed the mammoth's
pelvis and have found that a whole section of the mammoth's neck is
lying in the middle of the pelvis. Dig crews have also found ankle
bones, ribs, one in-place tusk and a portion of the
Based upon analysis of the specimen conducted by Dr. Fisher, the
size and shape of the tusk relative to the size of the other body
elements indicate the mammoth was a young female.
Media Availability: Dr. Ian Miller, Dr. Steve
Holen and Dr. Kirk Johnson, the Museum's chief curator and Vice
President of Research and Collections will be available for phone
interviews late today by appointment.
For additional information about the excavation, interview clips,
video clips and still images from the site, please check the Denver
Museum of Nature & Science's home page and press
About the Denver Museum of Nature &
The Denver Museum of Nature & Science is the Rocky Mountain
Region's leading resource for informal science education. A variety
of engaging exhibits, discussions and activities help Museum
visitors celebrate and understand the natural wonders of Colorado,
Earth and the universe. The Museum is located at 2001 Colorado
Blvd., Denver, CO, 80205. To learn more about the Museum,
check www.dmns.org, or call 303-370-6000.
Many of the Museum's educational programs and exhibits are
made possible in part by generous funding from the citizens of
the seven-county metro area through the Scientific & Cultural