Team excavating mammoth on gulf coast

02/10/04

COLLEGE STATION, Feb. 10, 2004 – Excavation of what is believed to be remains of the first-dated mammoth discovered on the Texas Gulf Coast is in its initial phases but living up to the expectations of its researchers, a team of students and archaeologists from Texas A&M University's Center for the Study of the First Americans.

The mammoth was found buried in a sand pit just outside Lake Jackson, Texas in the town of Clute by a backhoe operator for Vernor Material & Equipment Co. who uncovered a pair of tusks. Further examination revealed skull remains and miscellaneous bones.

The mammoth, which could be about 38,000 years old, judging from the age of logs recovered near the site, is believed to be a Columbian mammoth. These mammoths were slightly larger and less hairy than their famous cousin, the wooly. In addition, fossil logs and remains of bison, horse, deer and turtle are present, providing a glimpse of a unique Ice Age environment buried 35' below the surface, said Robson Bonnichsen, director of the Center for the Study of the First Americans

Bonnichsen, who is overseeing the excavation, explained that a community approach is being used to support the investigations of the accidental discovery at the Clute site. Vernor Materials & Equipment, Inc., the landowner, has provided access to the site and equipment. The City of Clute is providing 24-hour security. Members of the Brazosport Archaeological Society are assisting Texas A&M graduate students in excavating the mammoth. ConocoPhillips and the city merchants have provided much needed support for the project.

Following scientific study at Texas A&M, plans call for the remains to be exhibited in the Brazosport Museum of Natural Science.

Source: Eurekalert & others

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