The Mammoth News
Summer 2006, Volume 12
Summer work was confined to the lab. Jeff Saunders graciously helped me build a plaster storage jacket for the right scapula that has been on exhibit for a year.
During Summer Session I had two one-week classes that worked on several projects. They helped turn the scapula over and remove the field jacket from the other side. We are now ready to remove the PT (Paleontologic Tissue = toilet paper) and clean the surface that was exposed in the field – a project for the fall class.
Others worked on removing half of the field jacket and then matrix from four small bones – two knee caps (patellae), an unidentified bone, and a section of a rib. More work remains on these bones for my fall class.
The third project area was continuing to clean matrix from the left upper arm bone (humerus). This is a tedious task, but the results are worth it.
This summer we had about 270 visitors attend formal tours of the lab and garage where the skull block is, and many other visitors on campus who dropped by to view the lab on their own. These included some of the 800 Principia alumni on campus for their reunion, those attending the Summer Session, college students attending the archeology summer field program of the Center for American Archeology in Kampsville, and a few local visitors.
Janis Treworgy and co-authors Jeff Saunders (Illinois State Museum) and David Grimley (Illinois State Geological Survey) revised and resubmitted a manuscript on the Principia mammoth; the manuscript has been accepted for publication in the Quaternary International peer-reviewed journal.
The Fighting Mammoths
Those of you who have been to the University of Nebraska State Museum in Lincoln and seen the archived collections of mammoth bones with me on a class field trip may remember the “fighting mammoths” who died a tragic death with their tusks permanently locked together. These locked tusks and attached skulls, together with bones of the rest of the two male mammoths are now on display in the Trailside Museum in Ft. Robinson, western Nebraska, near where they were discovered in 1962. Not only is this an unusual death, but it is even more unlikely to have found such a unique pair of specimens. Until earlier this month, these tusks had been stored in their plaster field jackets on pallets in the collections room in Lincoln waiting for funding to prepare an exhibit for this small museum.