In the spring of 1978, two teenagers set out to look for arrowheads in a wooded creek bed in Waco, TX. What they found was something much older. Much, much older. They found Columbian Mammoth bones. These bones date as far back as 65,000 years, predating any human settlements in the area.
In 2015, President Obama made the Waco Mammoth park a part of the National Park Services. Pictured above is our guide. In order to go in to see the bones, you have to purchase a ticket for a guided tour. The price for an adult was only $5 if you weren’t active military, a teacher, a student (7th grade through college) or a senior. Then, it was $4. Children preK through 6th grade are only $3 and anyone younger is free.
The Colombian mammoth lived between 1.5 million to 11,500 years ago. Since these mammoths lived mostly in the grassland areas of North America, they weren’t wooly, as the temperature was warmer and were able to grow larger, due to greater food supply. They could grow as tall as 14 feet, as shown above. To put that into perspective, that’s two Shaquille O’Neils.
Nineteen mammoth skeletons have been found so far. Most of them are of a nursery group, a combination of females and babies. They were found in what’s known as a defensive circle, with the adults surrounding the babies. It is believed that they got stuck in the mud when a flash flood occurred. They died about 65,000 years ago.
Above is a male mammoth who died about 52,000 years ago. They believe he was killed in a mudslide, due to the preservation and articulation of the bones. His skull has been smashed, but it is hypothesized that a few months/years after his death, another mammoth walked over the spot and crushed his skull.
They also found that many times, with a herd of mammoths, a camel would be found. It is believed that they might use the camel like a guard dog today, to warn of danger. It is believed that mammoths, like modern day elephants, had poor eyesight, so the camels, with their much better vision, would know when danger was coming and make a lot of noise, warning the mammoths.
Another thing they believe is that mammoths were either right tusked or left tusked, much like elephants today and humans. Meet Lefty. The left tusk is extremely worn down, leading to this idea.
Along with the Dig site, that is only open with the paid tour, there is a nice wooded walk way or nature hike area you can take. This includes walking past 250 year old live oaks.
It is a great place to visit if you’re near Waco, TX for both its natural beauty and historical significance. I would definitely recommend this for anyone, as there are things for both adults and children to enjoy.