Mammoth Site

A Museum You Should Visit

Hot Springs, South Dakota has a unique museum, The Mammoth Site. If you’re anywhere near South Dakota’s Black Hills, The Mammoth Site is worth a stop.

mammoth dig

The Mammoth Site is a working palenotogical dig housed in a single building. The site is a filled-in Pleistocene sink hole, so the dig is well-constrained.

They did a great job exposing what they’ve found. There’s something like 60 mammoth skulls, but only 2 reasonably complete skeletons.

They’ve displayed a section through the layers of the sinkhole showing yearly or seasonal deposits, some mammoth footprints, and a thick bioturbated layer where mammoths wallowed in the mud.

mammoth humerus

Human child for scale (Note: this human child has adult-length arms). That’s a direct comparison of a human humerus, and a cast of a Columbian Mammoth humerus. North American elephants were gigantic!

This must be how they estimated Dee the Mammoth’s age:

mammoth molar wear

mammoth molars

An extremely well-done museum. The gift shop featured 3-D prints of the two complete mammoth skeletons, which I think is a great souvenir.