The Marquette Mammoth
Written by: Denise Tugman & Scott Cook
An archaeological team investigates mammoth fossils discovered at Buffalo Bill Reservoir, Wyoming.Mammoths were an ice-age, elephant-like animal with long, curved tusks. Fully grown, the pachyderm relative could weigh up to ten tons. Northern species, like the wooly mammoth, were hairy. It is believed that the animals first migrated to North America around 1.8 million years ago. Most of the animals died of 11,000 years ago, either as a result of the end of the ice age, human hunting, or a combination of both.
The remains of the Columbian mammoth were found within the Buffalo Bill Reservoir, which has been drawn down in anticipation of spring runoff from the Absaroka Range. The bones were spread out in an 80 to 100 meter area of lake bed that will soon be covered by about 30 feet of water. Scientists believe that the location where the bones were discovered may actually be a former, natural migration corridor into what is now Yellowstone Park.
The public was welcomed to the site to view the fossils, and some even helped locate additional bone fragments that were not originally flagged. Preliminary identification shows the remains of at least five mammoth species at the site. There are ten other mammoth discovery sites in Wyoming.
If you're wondering why it is called a "Marquette Mammoth," it is because the remains were found in the small ranching community of Marquette, Wyoming -- settled before Cody was founded, ten miles to the east. The place drew its name from George, "Uncle George" Marquette, one of the first immigrants to move to the area to farm and ranch on the South Fork river bottoms. However, the community moved elsewhere when Buffalo Bill Reservoir was constructed in its place.
Learn more about Reclamation's cultural and paleontological resources here: https://www.usbr.gov/cultural/protect.html.
Fossils found in Buffalo Bill Reservoir.
Archaeological team investigates fossils of the Marquette Mammoth
Published on July 30, 2018