On the News | USA | Mastodon tusk receives some loving care @ Sedalia Democrat

On the News @ Sedalia Democrat


Mastodon tusk receives some loving care


Brooke Mahar, interpretative resource specialist at the Mastodon State Historic Site, stands before the mastodon tusk that was cleaned at the Saint Louis Science Center’s Fossil Prep Lab. (@source)

“The 8-foot-long mastodon tusk on display at Mastodon State Historic Site looks almost good as new, even though it’s more than 10,000 years old.

The tusk recently returned to the museum at the state historic site after a six-month stay at the Saint Louis Science Center’s Fossil Lab, where it was cleaned and stabilized.

“The tusk was fairly brown, and it looks very white now,” said Brooke Mahar, interpretative resource specialist at the state historic site. “It’s just normal for an ivory tusk to need conservation work eventually because they’re fairly fragile.”

The tusk was uncovered during an emergency excavation in 1976 after prehistoric bones were dug up during construction of a car dealership in Barnhart, which is not far from the famous Kimmswick Bone Bed.

Archaeologists, both amateur and professional, had been digging at the bone bed since the early 1800s, recovering evidence of animals that lived during the Ice Age and were drawn to the site for its mineral springs.

When developers sought to buy the important archaeological site, a grass-roots effort raised funds to buy the bed and it became a state park in 1976, and later the Mastodon State Historic Site. There currently are no excavations at the site and the remnants of the bone beds are buried for preservation.

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The bone bed made scientific headlines when excavations in 1979 and 1980 yielded spear points found next to mastodon bones, giving hard evidence that mastodons were hunted by humans. That relationship was confirmed later at other archeological digs, but it came first at the Kimmswick Bone Bed, earning the site recognition on the National Register of Historic Places.” (…) READ MORE

Lurdes Fonseca

Assistant Professor and Researcher at University of Lisbon
Sociologist (PhD), Paleontologist (Researcher in Micropaleontology), Majors in Sociology and Biology, Minor in Geology. Main interests in Paleontology: Microfossils, Molecular fossils, Paleobiology and Paleoecology. (read more about me)