Pella Chronicle

CNHI/Southeast Iowa

August 26, 2013

Mahaska mammoths taught summer lessons

OSKALOOSA — The mammoth dig site in rural Mahaska County has been a boon for educators as they uncover more fossils this summer.

Oskaloosa Herald staff and their family members had the opportunity to help researchers at the dig site Saturday. There were about a half dozen adults and five children who traveled to the site to help researchers.

As the group gathered for the trek to the site, Dave Brenzel of the Indian Creek Nature Center did a mammoth workshop for the group.

Brenzel showed the group bags of mammoth fossils that had been collected over the summer.

"We're getting these ready to go out to William Penn," he said. There were at least 50 baggies full of fossils, he added.

"This is the summer stuff and we're going to have a couple more buckets," Brenzel said.

So far, researchers have confirmed there's three mammoths at the site and there could be one more, that is unconfirmed. An expert from Illinois, Chris Widga, will visit the site in October to inspect the bones, he said.

Brenzel said the Mahaska County site is significant because the mammoths were found in their natural habitat.

"They lived right here and they died where they lived," he said. "There's a lot of mysteries about how they lived."

Elephants are a lot like mammoths — their Ice Age relatives.

"They like water. Elephants need a lot of water," Brenzel said.

Brenzel got out some mammoth toe bones for the children to hold. Mammoths had five toes per limb, he said.

At the site, the Herald volunteers got to sift through lots of sand and clay in search of mammoth fossil fragments.

"We've been finding pieces of bone in here and a couple of Indian arrowheads," Brenzel said.

The volunteers encountered a lot of blue colored clay in the excavations.

Dr. Jim North of William Penn University said the blue color comes from iron that has not oxidized.

"It shows that the area doesn't have a lot of oxygen," he said. As a result, the mammoth bones are well preserved, he added.

"It's a very blue 'Smurf' color when you pull it out," North said.

North said he is making plans to have some of his William Penn science students help with the mammoth bones.

"I'm working on it in my head now," he said.

North said he would like to have three freshmen start on bone restoration. Since the mammoth dig is a multi-year project, it will be an excellent learning opportunity for them.

"This is master degree and Ph. D-type work," he said.

Also, North would like to examine some mammoth fossils with the scanning electron microscope at William Penn.

"I've written a copule of proposals for the scanning electron microscope," he said.

1
Text Only
CNHI/Southeast Iowa
  • Smartphone kill switches are coming

    Smartphones need kill switches. It's a relatively easy solution to the pricey (and irritating) problem of smartphone theft. But who would have thought that the big carriers would team up with Apple, Google, Microsoft, Nokia, Samsung and lots of other manufacturers to voluntarily begin adding the technology by July 2015? The cooperative spirit! It makes so much sense!

    April 18, 2014

  • Why do wolves howl?

    Of all the myths that dog the wolf, none is more widely accepted than the idea that wolves howl at the moon. Images of wolves with their heads upturned, singing at the night sky, are as unquestioned as a goldfish's three-second memory or a dog's color-blindness (both also myths).

    April 18, 2014

  • Biggest student loan profits come from grad students

    This week, the Congressional Budget Office projected that the federal government would earn roughly $127 billion from student lending during the next 10 years.

    April 18, 2014

  • quake.jpg Pennsylvania won’t take action following Ohio ruling on quakes, fracking

    Pennsylvania officials plan no action despite new Ohio rules on drilling that affect a seismically active area near the state line.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • DOT photo Public learns latest about Northwest Bypass at DOT meeting

    OSKALOOSA -- Many area residents learned the latest about the U.S. 63 Northwest Bypass of Oskaloosa at a public information meeting held Wednesday evening at Oskaloosa Middle School. The two-hour meeting featured tables with maps of the three propose

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • VIDEO: Boston bomb scare defendant appears in court

    The man accused of carrying a backpack containing a rice cooker near the Boston Marathon finish line on the anniversary of the bombings was arraigned Wednesday. He's being held on $100,000 bail.

    April 17, 2014

  • Consumer spending on health care jumps as Affordable Care Act takes hold

    Nancy Beigel has known since September that she would need hernia surgery. She couldn't afford it on her $11,000 yearly income until she became eligible for Medicaid in January through President Barack Obama's signature health care law.

    April 17, 2014

  • The case for separate beds

    The other night I slept on a twin bed in the guest room of the house I share with my husband and our two kids.
    It was the best night's sleep I've had in years.

    April 17, 2014

  • Raw oysters spike U.S. rise in bacterial infections, CDC reports

    Raw oysters, so good with hot sauce, increasingly can carry something even more unsettling to the stomach: A bacteria linked to vomiting, diarrhea and pain.

    April 17, 2014

  • To sleep well, you may need to adjust what you eat and when

    Sleep.  Oh, to sleep.  A good night's sleep is often a struggle for more than half of American adults.  And for occasional insomnia, there are good reasons to avoid using medications, whether over-the-counter or prescription.

    April 16, 2014

Features
Facebook
AP Video
Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Obituaries