Saturday, October 22, 2011


Columbian Mammoth
Have you ever stood by a giraffe, elephant  or even a multi-story building and realize how small human beings are in reality. Suddenly our egos exit. We realize our intellect is all that keeps  us at the top of the heap of living creatures that now exist, and/or once existed on our planet.

This realization came to me as I stood before several Ice Age animals at the Mammoth Site near Hot Springs, South Dakota. I would loved to have had more time at this location. But as I have said before, group tours are scheduled and you move when told as there usually is another group tour arriving behind you. If you have not already read the link provided, it is well worth your time.
Husband & I In Front of Same Mammoth In Picture
Above [Picture Taken For Feature in Area
 Newspaper Called"Where In The World
Is the Baxter Bulletin?"
Paleontology is simply define as the study of prehistoric life, but it has many subtypes, not just bones and fossils. Superficially, one would think this site is just that, until you see and read about its discovery and history.
Giant Short-Faced Bear Skeleton

The Giant Short-Faced Bear Plaque
The Mammoth Site is the world's largest research facility which claims to have discovered about 58 Columbian and woolly mammoths, as well as other prehistoric animals like bears and hippopotamus.There are other mammoth sites in U.S. at Waco, Texas and other sites in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Texas, South Carolina, Utah  and Virginia,Wisconsin and Washington, as well as several in Kenosha County, Illinois. I may have missed several other sites.
Some of these sites are more the prehistoric human, predecessors of an earlier generation of Native American than those occupying the land when America was settled.
The Mammoth site in South Dakota through a series of climate changes became what is known as a karst sinkhole, which was a steep hole, a watering hole or pond for thirsty animals. The huge mammoths would enter the water to quench their thirst, eat or bathe. But their bulk and weight prevented them from getting a foothold to climb out the steep banks. The animal would become exhausted from their many attempts and falling, until fatigue conquered and the animal drown.

The sinkhole became a mass grave for mammoths and other prehistoric beasts. and finally filling the karst with a wealth of prehistoric bones fauna and other natural wealth, well entombed and protected by silt and mud.
Almost Complete Skeleton Imbedded Mammoth Site In Karst Sink Hole
Upon discovery the edge of the karst sinkhole was determined and housing was built over it to prevent erosion. It is a remarkable sight to see. The discovery was by chance when heavy equipment was excavating for a housing development, but instead found South Dakota's greatest fossil treasure.
Partially Exposed Skeleton in Mammoth Site Karst Sink Hole
The Mammoth Site is not a part of the National Park System but a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. Besides the indoor fossil bone bed, there is a working paleontology laboratory, Ice Age exhibit, ongoing research and education, and a Junior Paleontologist Program (June 1- August 15). There are teaching materials, "Mammoth in a Trunk" teaching kits with teacher support materials, video teleconferencing, and Boy and Girl Scout Merit Badge classes.
Embedded Tusk - Mammoth Site Karst Sink Hole
The Site has co-hosted international conferences and publishes scientific Quarternary research materials. "Quarternary" refers to the Ice Age prehistoric natural history; in this case, emphasis is on the late Pleistocene age.

Mammoth Site has received many accolades, including 2009 Distinctive Destination by National Trust of Historic Preservation, AAA "Gem Attraction" and the Great American Road Trip-Black Hills-South Dakota.
Overview Of About 50% of the Mammoth Site Work Area
There was much more than I could absorb in the hour and 15 minutes allotted our tour. We followed a bus tour and another followed us. So we had to keep a nearby restaurant named "Woolly's" in Hot Springs, SD, which was a sandwich bar with salads, dessert and non-alcoholic drinks. [could not find an Internet link that exactly matched the restaurant.]

Enjoy the photos. Click and enlarge to see details you may not see in blog size.
This tour and Crazy Horse Museum I wished for much more time, but am blessed I was granted health and relative stability to make the trip and essentially complete the tour as well as the road trip to and from Rapid City South Dakota.

Below are two YouTube videos of Mammoth site in Hot Springs, South Dakota and Waco, TX.

YouTube - Mammoth Site SD

You Tube - Waco TX

Photos (except YouTube) made by NitWit1

[I encountered some problems with formatting; don't know if it is me or Blogger. Since I have had two different composing Windows for whatever reason since In returned home, I tend to think it is Blogger. It is always interesting to see what Blogger will throw at me next.]


Lisa said...

This is a fantastic post! I'm having my kids come back to read this and watch the videos. Oh! How I wish we were traveling with you. Your learning so much.

Carol@The Writers Porch said...

WOW! That was awesome!

Anonymous said...

Amazing pictures of amazing sites. These places would be great for educational field trips for school students. Thanks for sharing another great part of your wonderful trip. Hugs

Dimple said...


Grandma Yellow Hair said...

Goodness honey this post was amazing and it must be great to visit all these wonderful places.
I don't think it is you but blogger. I have had trouble with the site for a while now.
Hope you are well and enjoying the weekend

faye said...

Interesting post..
not sure I will ever get that far out west again.. Bob seems to never
want to go back to the same area

Nezzy said...

WoW sweetie, this was simply amazin'!!! The other night I dreamed I woke up to elephants sleepin' all over my acre of flower garden. They were just regular pachyderm though, not hairy mammoths!!! Heeehehehe!

Looks like ya'll had a fabulous time.

God bless ya and have an extraordinary day! :o)

Lorna said...

That is quite amazing! and I know how diminished people can feel next to some of the creatures we've shared the earth with; we have great skeletons and reproductions at the National Museum of Nature, just down the road from us, and i spent my childhood in Calgary, very near the site of the famous Alberta paleontology sites.

Sweet Virginia Breeze said...

Very interesting! I hope I get to visit there one day.