June 9, 2012
The Mammoth Site in Hot Springs, South Dakota, is the world’s largest mammoth research facility where we travel back in time when Ice Age mammoth, camel, and giant short-faced bear roamed the Great Plains of North America.
In 1974, a construction worker, George Hanson, unearthed unusual bones while the area was being prepared for a housing subdivision. Later a museum and building enclosing the site were established. Today, the museum contains an extensive collection of mammoth remains, with ongoing research and excavations at the site.
The fossil bones of Columbian and woolly mammoths are found scattered throughout the sinkhole. The bones are displayed as they were discovered, in the now dry pond sediments. To date, 55 mammoths have been identified, along with the remains of a giant short-faced bear, camel, llama, prairie dog, wolf, fish, and numerous invertebrates.
The Mammoth Site’s Ice Age Exhibit Hall features replica skeletons of the American lion, giant short-faced bear, and pygmy mammoth. A full-sized mammoth model and walk-in mammoth bone hut are the most popular exhibits.
One of the finest private collections of earliest North American artifacts found in the Black Hills and Badlands area and featuring Clovis and Folsom points is on display in the museum.
There’s also a working paleontology laboratory where researchers can date and test fossils and learn about the history of this site.