A Smithsonian article turned up in my inbox this week about mammoths that lived on an island in the Bering sea. They became extinct on this island around 5600 years ago and experts have concluded this happened because rising sea waters contaminated the water table and therefore their water supply.
This reminded me of our visit to Hot Springs in South Dakota a few years ago. The city of Hot Springs is the southern gateway to the Black Hills. In 1974 a construction crew were working on a building site and hit a tusk. They called experts who found a site full of bones, and what turned out to be a huge Columbian mammoth gravesite.
The area was once a sinkhole and over the years, many mammoths and other animals fell in, and unable to climb back out, they perished.
The site has turned into the largest collection of mammoth skeletons found in the United States. They have found 60 mammoth skeletons and at least three woolly mammoth skeletons.
Work on the site is on-going and volunteers are still uncovering new finds.
You can see the skeletons and tusks in the above photos of mammoths that ventured too close to the sink hole and died.
This particular head and tusks is known as Beauty because it is so beautifully preserved and symmetrical.
This is a life-size model of a Columbian mammoth, and that’s hubby standing in front of it so you can get an idea of the size. The tusks are huge, and the mammoths must have been a fearsome sight in the flesh.
We loved our visit to the mammoth site. It was fascinating, and we spent some time wandering around and taking photos. If you live anywhere near Hot Springs or are visiting the area, I highly recommend a visit.