Ice Age Site Yields Five Mastodon Pelvises, Plus Two Tusks, Two Skulls

This week, the excavation team from the Denver Museum of Nature & Science has uncovered many Mastodon bones -- including five pelvises, two tusks, and two skulls -- all located together among the sediments at the bottom of the area's original lakebed and on top of the glacial moraine.

See photos from the dig site on Flickr.

"These giant fossils, the skulls and pelvises each the size of a car door, are in one large bone bed among massive boulders,"  said Kirk Johnson, the leader of the Museum's excavation team and vice president of the Research and Collections Division. "We are just baffled as to why they are all in one place. One possible scenario could be that they were from skeletons on the shoreline that were washed into the lakebed and settled to the bottom. It's just speculation at this point, as we piece together the details of this incredible Ice Age scene."

An average mastodon pelvis weighs approximately 150 pounds, and that weight increases to 400 pounds once the fossil is surrounded by a plaster jacket. An average mastodon skull weighs up to 600 pounds before it is jacketed. The team at the Ice Age dig site near Snowmass Village is relying on an excavator to hoist these heavy specimens off the ground, and will rent a truck to transport them down to the Museum for preservation.

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