Texas over Time: Waco Mammoth National Monument, Waco, TX

Texas has changed quite a bit over the years, as is readily seen in our vast photograph and postcard collections. To help bring some of those changes to life, we’ve created a “Texas over Time” series of GIFs that will illustrate the construction and renovations of buildings, changing aerial views, and more. Our collections are especially strong on Waco and Baylor images, but look for some views beyond the Heart of Texas, too.

                                Waco Mammoth National Monument

*Two explorers, Paul Barron and Eddie Bufkin, were searching for fossils along the Bosque River in the spring of 1978 when they accidentally discovered the large femur bone of a Columbian mammoth (Mammuthus columbi).

*Barron and Bufkin took their discovery to Baylor University’s Strecker Museum, now the Mayborn Museum, where researchers identified the fossils and organized a search team.

*The Mammuthus columbi species lived over 65,000 years ago during the Ice Age and roamed anywhere from Southern Canada to Costa Rica.

*Between 1978 and 1990, the remains of 24 Columbian mammoths, a saber toothed cat, giant tortoise, Western camel and American alligator were all excavated.

*The group of fossils were categorized as a “nursery herd.”

*Jon Bongino, a Baylor graduate student in Geology first believed that all the animals found at the Waco Mammoth Site died in one single catastrophic event. After further investigation of the soil layers, it was determined that three events took place in a short period of time at the site.

*The animals’ involved were trapped in a steep-sided channel and drowned during a period of rapidly rising flood waters from the Bosque River.

*The excavation process was a tedious process, finished by utilizing trowels, brushes and bamboo scrapers.

*The Columbian mammoths weighed seven to eight tons, they were 12 to 14 feet tall and had tusks as long as 16 feet.

*On July 10, 2015, the site officially became the Waco Mammoth National Monument after the President signed an Executive Order to hand management over to the National Park Service.

See the still images in our Flickr set.

Works Cited:

Hetter, Katia. “Texas Mammoth Herd Site Is a New National Monument.” CNN. Cable News Network, 30 June. Web. 13 July 2016.

“History & Culture.” National Parks Service. U.S. Department of the Interior, n.d. Web. 13 July 2016.

Barrow, Jill, and Guy Gandy. Mammoths in Waco: Exploring the Mystery. Waco, TX: Mayborn Museum Complex, Baylor U, 2007. Print.

Text and GIF by Haley Rodriguez

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