The Hyde Park Mastodon Fact Sheet
The excavation lasted 6 weeks, with the help of hundreds of volunteers from Vassar College, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Mount Holyoke University, SUNY New Paltz and The Boston Museum of Science, among others. 95% of the bones were recovered, including both tusks, the skull and all major limb bones.
It was determined that the Hyde Park specimen is an American mastodon (Mammut americanum), probably an older adult male (30-40 years old) that may have weighed as much as 10,000 -15,000 pounds (4,500 - 6,800 kg) when alive. It lived approximately 11,500 radiocarbon years ago...which is equal to 11,500 BC. There is a chance that Native Americans laid eyes on this animal when he was alive, though there is no evidence to indicate that humans had any direct impact on its death.
At least 10 species of trees are represented in the ancient sediments
that lined the bottom of the pond, including several species that live
far north of the Hudson Valley (near Hudson Bay in north-central Canada)
today. This indicates that the climate of the lower Hudson Valley 15,000
years ago was similar to the climate of Hudson Bay today. That's cold!
The bones have been shipped to the University of Michigan Museum of Paleontology, where a scientific-quality cast will be made of the skeleton. There, they will be studied by vertebrate paleontologist Dr. Daniel Fisher, a leading authority on mastodons in North America.
Next up for the Hyde Park Mastodon: he will be mounted by a company in Alberta, Canada, and on display at PRI's new Museum of the Earth, opening in summer, 2003.
What is a mastodon?
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