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Mammoth Hot Springs, SD

When I went to South Dakota last summer, I visited to the famous, well-studied and documented Mammoth Site in Hot Springs, SD. For those of you who don't know, the site is a sink hole that holds a treasure trove of skeletons of prehistoric mammals from the late Pleistocene, mainly Colombian Mammoths. The site also contains the remains of Woolly Mammoths, a Short-faced Bear, the American Camel, rabbits, prairie dogs, wolves, and llamas. The site started out as an underground cavern that one day collapsed. This created a seemingly shallow pond which attracted animals for a drink. What these animals didn't know was that it was to be their death trap. When the animals went to the water, the slippery banks prevented them from leaving the area, causing most to die of starvation or by drowning. Over 70 Colombian Mammoths have been found so far. Why the large number of Mammoths? Through further study of the pelvic bones, scientists discovered that many of them were males in their teens. After comparing Mammoth society to modern Elephant society, they came to the conclusion that teenage male Mammoths were forced out of their group when they reached sexual maturity to form mating groups of their own. These naive males saw the sinkhole as a good place to drink and carelessly jumped over the banks, possibly into the pond. They soon figured out they couldn't scale the slippery walls and starved. If they had been with other mammoths, then they would have been saved because of the use of their trunks as interlocked pulleys. It is a sad ending for Mammoths, but a happy ending for paleontologists who received a unique view into South Dakota during the Pleistocene.
Location Pennintgon County, South Dakota, USA

ID4143
Memberninjaplease
Date Added7/11/2012

Arctodus- The Short-faced Bear
Just to show how huge these monsters were.
Camelops- The American Camel
And again...Massive Monster Mammoths!
  

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Black Hills Institute Museum
Black Hills Institute Museum
Museum of Geology in Rapid City
Museum of Geology in Rapid City
South Dakota Dinosaur Digging
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