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Grangeville in Idaho County, Idaho — The American West (Mountains)
 

A Mammoth Discovery

 
 
A Mammoth Discovery Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Barry Swackhamer, August 25, 2019
1. A Mammoth Discovery Marker
Caption: (bottom left) In order to recover as much information as possible about the Tolo Lake mammoths and the environment in which they lived and died, the lake bed was gridded into five-meter squares to allow careful sampling of the sediments and recording and photographing of all the fossil elements in place before they were removed.
Inscription.  Can you imagine mammoths walking the streets of Grangeville? Before Sept. 2, 1994, no one else could either. But on that date, a heavy equipment operator for Prairie Land and Timber, found a "big bone" when he was digging in Tolo Lake. That four-foot long and twelve-inch-diameter bone turned out to be the thigh bone of a Columbian mammoth, Mammuthus Columbia.

Then the Work Began
In just one summer of excavating, bones from at least nine mammoths and two prehistoric bison (Bison antiques) were uncovered in Tolo Lake. Scientists believe that Tolo Lake may be the largest mammoth graveyard in the United States, with up to 200 mammoth skeletons.
The excavation was led by Idaho Museum of Natural History staff in cooperation with the Idaho State Historical Society and the University of Idaho.
Volunteers, many from Grangeville but some from as far away as Tennessee, assisted with the excavating, guiding tours, and lending support. Tolo Lake received almost 12,000 visitors for site tours during the summer of 1995.

(side-bar on right:)
Tolo Lake Today
Tolo
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Lake lies about five miles west of Grangeville on the edge of the Camas Prairie. The discovery of mammoths came about because of work designed to improve fish and wildlife habitat and recreational opportunities at the lake. Tolo Lake looks much different today than it did during the summer of 1995. Instead of bare earth and people digging and scraping, you'll see a 30-acre lake where people are boating and fishing or skating and picnicking - all thanks to the management efforts of Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Bureau of Land Management, and Nez Perce National Historical Park. You may see someone watching birds rather than brushing off bones. But don't count that out.
For now, the bones and excavation site have been covered with 86 million gallons of water to protect them from weathering and disturbance. In the future, the Idaho Museum of Natural History has the option to continue excavation if funding becomes available.
So, mammoths may never walk Grangeville's streets again, but the people who "dig" them are around for good!
 
Erected by Northwest Passage Scenic Byway and All-American Road.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Paleontology. A significant historical date for this entry is September 4, 1994.
 
Location. 45° 55.924′ N, 116° 7.917′ W. Marker is in Grangeville, Idaho
A Mammoth Discovery Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Barry Swackhamer, August 25, 2019
2. A Mammoth Discovery Marker
The marker is in the window on the right.
, in Idaho County. Marker is on Pine Street near U.S. 95, on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 612 Pine Street, Grangeville ID 83530, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. The Camas Prairie Mammoth (here, next to this marker); Gold Pans and Whipsaws (a few steps from this marker); The Camas Connection (a few steps from this marker); Home on the Grange (a few steps from this marker); The Eimers Legacy (a few steps from this marker); Tolo, Alab-lemot (within shouting distance of this marker); The ADVANCE Steam Traction Engine (approx. 0.6 miles away); Mount Idaho (approx. 3.1 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Grangeville.
 
More about this marker. This exhibit is in Eimers Park.
 
Replica of the Columbian Mammoth (Mammuthus columbi) image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Barry Swackhamer, August 25, 2019
3. Replica of the Columbian Mammoth (Mammuthus columbi)
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on October 20, 2019. It was originally submitted on October 20, 2019, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California. This page has been viewed 584 times since then and 95 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on October 20, 2019, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California.

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Apr. 16, 2024