Volunteers work to unearth skeleton of Columbian Mammoth
KENNEWICK, Wash. — Saturday morning a team of volunteers worked to unearth the skeleton of a Columbian Mammoth that once roamed the earth in a town that is now called Kennewick.
The Mid-Columbia Basin Old Natural Education Sciences (MCBONES) Research Center Foundation, non-profit educational organization, lead the excavation at the Coyote Canyon Mammoth Dig Site in Kennewick.
(MCBONES) offered opportunities for visitors to actively participate in laboratory and field-based research in paleontology, geology, paleoecology and other natural sciences Saturday while they continued their dig for Columbian Mammoth bones.
“A customer that we use to sell fill dirt to in 1999 called us one day and said that he didn’t need any bones, this is what prompted our investigation into this area at the Coyote Canyon in Kennewick, and we have been digging ever since,” (MCBONES) Excavation unit supervisor James Hallock said.
Over the past seven years Hallock and community volunteers have been able to uncover over 40 bones that belonged to the same Mammoth.
“What’s going on here has never been done before in the state of Washington we are collecting all of the evidence to set our Mammoth in context using a wet screening method to gain insight of what the plants, animals and environment looked like at the time of this Columbian Mammoth,” Hallock added.
Local (MCBONES) ice flood experts, paleontologists and geologist believe that based off their radio carbon dating this Columbian Mammoth was 12 feet tall and 17,500 years-old.
“We are pretty sure it was a male that drowned, but we will have to find the pelvis to be sure,” Hallock said.
According to Hallock and local experts the growth patterns in the teeth that they have uncovered thus far suggest that the male Mammoth was about 40 years-old when he died.
Hallock and the (MCBONES) non-profit hope that with the help of the community they will be able to continue their excavation to fully reveal the life of the Columbian Mammoth.
Tours of the dig site take place once a month.
If you would like to go on the tour or participate in a volunteer excavation dig you can visit the (MCBONES) website or call (509) 989-1449.