April 07, 2015

Waco Mammoth Site nearer to NPS designation

Regan King, Waco Mammoth Site Program Coordinator.
gives National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis
a tour of the Waco Mammoth Site on Monday.
Jerry Larson/Waco Tribune photo

A national monument preserving a major Columbian mammoth burial site may be closer to reality in Waco than ever before.

I blogged last week about the planning visit of National Park Service Director Ron Jarvis, and Waco civic leaders' push to ask President Barack Obama to use his Antiquities Act powers to make this happen, after Rep. Ron Flores, who represents Waco in Congress, had basically semi-undercut Wacoans attempts to have Congress make this so by legislation.

Well, Jarvis was quite pleased, the Waco Tribune notes, at the level of "development" of the site, its broader potential with adjacent, city-owned land, for a museum or other amenities, and the level of civic backing shown by an SRO crowd.

Per an NPS press release, this is why the site deserves national monument status:
In 1978, Columbian Mammoth fossils were first discovered at the site, and it remains the nation's first and only recorded discovery of a nursery herd (females and their offspring) of Pleistocene mammoths. The remains of 24 mammoths have been found to date, 19 of which were part of the nursery herd, and more remains from the Ice Age are likely in the area. The nursery herd died at the same moment in time as a result of a natural catastrophic event, the skeletons are relatively intact, and the individual mammoths range in age from 3 to 65 years old.The site offers a one-of-a-kind opportunity to examine the matriarchal herd structure and behavior of this extinct species. For example, juvenile mammoth skeletons rest atop the long tusks of adults, suggesting that the adults were trying to save their offspring from the rising waters and sucking mud. The site has already revealed other Ice Age fossils, including camel, saber-toothed cat, dwarf antelope, and giant tortoise.

Make it so, President Obama.

Interestingly, or "interestingly," Bill Flores was able to hold a town hall in Waco that same evening, but apparently couldn't be there for Jarvis' visit.

He also, touchingly, asked attendees at his town hall to "remember" the city of West, while not asking them to remember that the West explosion happened to a minimal-regulation government, which the likes of him favor.

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