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Iowa History Daily: December 16 - Mahaska County Mammoths

Iowa History Daily: On December 16, 2011, representatives from the University of Iowa arrived in Mahaska County to examine mammoth remains uncovered by a local man. Known as the “Mahaska County Mammoths,” the find eventually uncovered the parts of at least three wooly mammoths while providing a glimpse into the deep past of Iowa.

During the previous year, a man from Oskaloosa and his sons went out to hunt for berries but found something much more interesting instead. "I got down on my hands and knees on the bank and I could see a marrow line around the edge and I said boys, that's a bone, that's a really big bone," the man said. The first find, an entire intact mammoth femur, opened a window to Iowa’s past closed for 12,000 years.

The man returned, uncovering more than 20 bones over the next two years including ribs, five articulated cervical vertebrae, and an assortment of terminal phalanges with the help of the University of Iowa Museum of Natural History and hundreds of volunteers. In 2014, the Mahaska County Conservation Board officially gained ownership of the bones.

On display today at the Mahaska County Environmental Learning Center in Oskaloosa, the collection represents one of the most significant archaeological treasures in Iowa. The find and related research continue to help Iowans understand the past of the people, plants, and animals who called Iowa home in the distant past.. #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar


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