A MAMMOTH discovery!
December 14, 2012
In July 2012, the remains of a partially intact Woolly Mammoth (Arctic Network (ARCN) and Pilot Eric Sieh of NPS & US Fish and Wildlife, in shallow waters of a lake in Bering Land Bridge National Preserve. Initial observations included two limb bones, a tooth and a few large unidentified elements. From this preliminary assemblage, the single tooth was collected and later sent off for c14 dating.) were discovered by Amy Larsen, an Aquatic Ecologist with the National Park Service's (NPS)
A subsequent reconnaissance trip to the area in September 2012, by Western Arctic National Parklands (WEAR) Archeologist Jon Hardes, Museum of the North & Gates of the Arctic Archeologist Jeff Rasic, UAF geology doctoral student Louise Farquharson and Pilot Eric Sieh, observed the semi-articulated humerus and ulna (front leg bones) of the mammoth as well as some partial rib and vertebra fragments. Several bones from a caribou ( ) were also discovered within the bone scatter. A portion of one of the mammoth vertebra fragments was collected and submitted for c14 dating. Sediment and peat samples were also described and collected. These will help researchers to reconstruct the past local environment in which the mammoth lived and help us to better understand the formational process acting upon the thaw lake in which it was discovered.
Though the mammoth tooth and vertebra were recovered some 50 meters apart from one another, they both returned statistically identical dates, with ages of approximately 12,400 years before present (BP).
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Did You Know?
Caribou have been hunted in the same spot at Onion Portage for the last 9000 years. This site in Kobuk Valley National Park is now a National Historic Landmark. Local area residents still hunt caribou here during the animals’ southward migration in the fall.