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Dear colleagues and friends,

After 39 years at UNLV, I'm currently engaged in the most exciting project of my career—excavation of a Columbian mammoth. A few exposed bones were discovered by a motorcyclist in Amargosa Valley (northwest of Pahrump) who reported the find to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Last fall, with invitation from the BLM, my students and I started excavate the site.

The presence of very large tusks pointing straight down into the ground makes this animal discovery unique, and we are finding abundant freshwater snails and clams surrounding the bones. Our working hypothesis is that this animal died with its feet planted in soft sediment at the bottom of a deep pond, rendering it unable to move. We believe that the deep water supported the animal's body until it began to decompose. The heavy tusks caused the animal's head to fall forward, plunging the tusks into the soft sediment where we find them today, 20,000 years later, still intact relative to each other.

Eventually, the carcass decomposed, scattering bones on the bottom of the pond. We have not yet found the animal's leg bones, but our working hypothesis gives us reason to believe they are nearby. However, to fully develop our hypothesis, understanding of this mammoth and region at the time, we must dig deeper.

In order to keep digging and conduct a detailed post-excavation analysis, additional resources are necessary. Continuing to excavate requires transportation, tools, and research equipment (such as ground-penetrating radar to locate additional bones). Additionally, getting portions of this animal out of the ground may require some specialized equipment. Therefore, support is needed today to help us complete this project.

Would you consider joining me today in supporting this project? Your donation would allow us to continue to excavate this mammoth, research its components, and preserve it in the Las Vegas Natural History Museum before environmental and human hazards jeopardize it. You can donate, share on social media, and learn more by clicking here. Every gift, whether big or small, gets us one step closer to getting this mammoth out of the ground and preserving it for future generations.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Chris L. Heavey, Ph.D. Sincerely,

Steve Rowland, Ph.D
Professor of Geology
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