Centennial Paleontology Site - 2004 Excavation
In August of 2004, for the second summer in a row, an excavation was conducted at the Centennial Site in Wind Cave National Park. Dr. Greg McDonald and Rod Horrocks were joined by two paleontological interns from the Mammoth Site, from nearby Hot Springs, for a five-day excavation.
This follow-up excavation became necessary after it was realized that the site might be damaged by bison trampling the site. Some bones were found on the hillside that had weathered out of the dig site.
During this field season, one 900-pound block and four smaller blocks were collected. In one of the blocks Niranjala Kottachchi, a Mammoth Site intern, found the entire skull of the rhino and three articulated toes. Michelle Pinsdorf, another Mammoth Site intern, completed preparation of another block where she found a wealth of bones from the horse. A volunteer preparatory from the Denver Museum of Natural History, Shirley Alverez, has also completed preparing four small blocks that included two sets of articulated foot bones, a lumbar vertebra from the rhino, and a rib from the cat-sized deer.
The team has still not found any duplication of any elements from the find last year, indicating that all the bones belong to just three individuals, one juvenile rhino, one juvenile horse, and a deer. On-going preparation of these bones can be observed at the Mammoth Site in Hot Springs. These blocks and bones can all be seen on the associated map.
High Resolution Site Map
For more information about the Centennial Site click on the links below.
Did You Know?
Fire is an important factor in protecting the prairie. Historically, fires burned across the prairie every 4 to 7 years. Fires burn the small trees that would otherwise march across the prairie and turn the grasslands to forest.