Navigation Links
An ancient bathtub ring of mammoth fossils

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory geologists have put out a call for teeth tusks, femurs and any and all other parts of extinct mammoths left by massive Ice Age floods in southeastern Washington.

The fossils, in some cases whole skeletons of Mammathus columbi, the Columbian mammoth, were deposited in the hillsides of what are now the Yakima, Columbia and Walla Walla valleys in southeastern Washington, where the elephantine corpses came to rest as water receded from the temporary but repeatedly formed ancient Lake Lewis. PNNL geologists are plotting the deposits to reconstruct the high-water marks of many of the floods, the last of which occurred as recently as 12,000 to 15,000 years ago.

"Now is the perfect time to collect geologic and paleontologic data," said George Last, a senior research scientist at the Department of Energy laboratory in Richland, Wash., whose sideline is researching the ice-age floods. "Winter has eroded the slopes, exposing new evidence. We’re interested in researching any known or suspected mammoth find, to collected additional evidence and to improve documentation of those sites."

Last, PNNL intern Kelsey Winsor and colleagues have identified 62 sites of known or suspected fossil finds and have verified and collected additional material and information at eight of them, including two so far this spring. They presented three seasons?worth of fieldwork Saturday during the Geological Society of America regional meeting at Western Washington University.

"We’re trying to tease out as much information as we can about each and every mammoth find in the mid-Columbia basin, so that we can better understand the impacts that Ice Age floods may have had on the mammoths and other creatures, and in turn learn more about the history of Ice Age flooding."

Geologists suspect that most of the Ice Age floods in eastern Washington originated from glacial Lake Missoula. The lake formed behind ice that dammed th e Clark Fork River. Sometimes the ice dam broke, releasing huge volumes—up to 500 cubic miles—of water in an instant. The dam would slowly reform creating a new Lake Missoula, and the cycle would repeat.

The huge volumes of water swept overland from present-day Spokane to the Tri-Cities, creating a distinct geological region known as the Channeled Scablands. The only outlet for this tremendous outpouring was a southern ridge-opening called Wallula Gap. But Wallula Gap was too narrow to handle all the massive flow; the water would back up, creating temporary Lake Lewis, then slowly drain through to the Columbia River Gorge—all in a matter of days.

Preliminary results place most mammoth finds in the Lake Lewis area at elevations of 600 to 1,000 feet, which echoes the distribution of boulders that originated from far away—so-called erratics—and rafted in on icebergs. The evidence suggests that these elevations mirror the typical water depths when Lake Lewis and that larger floods and deeper waters, up to 1,200 feet, were exceptions rather than the rule.

Full skeletons found at lower elevations were likely buried soon after death-by-torrent, a hard to imagine wall of water a half-mile high spanning the doomed creature’s entire field of vision and approaching as fast as 60 miles an hour. Some fragments may have come from full skeletons churned up and redistributed by later floods, while others may actually have ice-rafted in with erratics.

Source:DOE/Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Related biology news :

1. Researchers find missing genes of ancient organism
2. Family trees of ancient bacteria reveal evolutionary moves
3. Scientists find fossil proof of Egypts ancient climate
4. U-M team recovers ancient whale in Egyptian desert
5. Deep sea algae connect ancient climate, carbon dioxide and vegetation
6. Analysis of flower genes reveals the fate of an ancient gene duplication
7. World-first technology enables study of ancient bacteria
8. Did humans cause ecosystem collapse in ancient Australia?
9. MBL researchers probe how an ancient microbe thrives and evolves without sex
10. A salty tale: New bacterial genome sequenced from ancient salterns
11. UF scientists reveal ancient origin of vertebrate skeleton

Post Your Comments:

(Date:11/12/2015)... , Nov. 12, 2015  A golden retriever that ... muscular dystrophy (DMD) has provided a new lead for ... Hospital, the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and ... . Cell, pinpoints a ... "escape" the disease,s effects. The Boston Children,s lab of ...
(Date:11/11/2015)... , Nov. 11, 2015   MedNet Solutions , an ... of clinical research, is pleased to announce that it will ... Trials (PCT) event, to be held November 17-19 in ... to view live demonstrations of iMedNet , ... how iMedNet has been able to deliver time ...
(Date:11/9/2015)... Nov. 09, 2015 ... of the "Global Law Enforcement Biometrics ... --> ) has announced ... Enforcement Biometrics Market 2015-2019" report to ... Markets ( ) has announced the ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... , Nov. 24, 2015  Clintrax Global, Inc., a worldwide ... Carolina , today announced that the company has set a ... a 391% quarter on quarter growth posted for Q3 of 2014 ... and Mexico , with the establishment of ... December 2015. --> United Kingdom and ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... This fall, global software solutions leader SAP and ... to develop and pitch their BIG ideas to improve health and wellness in their ... votes to win the title of SAP's Teen Innovator, an all-expenses paid trip to ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... 24, 2015 SHPG ) announced today that ... Piper Jaffray 27 th Annual Healthcare Conference in ... at 8:30 a.m. EST (1:30 p.m. GMT). --> SHPG ... will participate in the Piper Jaffray 27 th Annual Healthcare ... Tuesday, December 1, 2015, at 8:30 a.m. EST (1:30 p.m. GMT). ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... Israel , Nov. 24, 2015  Tikcro Technologies Ltd. (OTCQB: TIKRF) ... on December 29, 2015 at 11:00 a.m. Israel ... Electra Tower, 98 Yigal Allon Street, 36 th Floor, ... of Eric Paneth and Izhak Tamir to the ... Rami Skaliter as external directors; , approval of an amendment to ...
Breaking Biology Technology: