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The City of Waco Mammoth site offers a chance to view fossils in air-conditioned comfort

The City of Waco’s Mammoth Site discovered in 1978 was recently named a National Monument when President Barack Obama issued a Presidential Proclamation making the Waco Mammoth Site a new unit of the National Park System. The paleontological site represents the nation’s only recorded discovery of a nursery herd of Columbian mammoths, meaning a family grouping of mothers and young, of Pleistocene mammoths. Fossils located at the site also include female mammoths, a bull mammoth and a camel that lived approximately 67,000 years ago.

“The City of Waco, Baylor University, and the Waco Mammoth Foundation have been working toward this goal for over 10 years,” said Lori Kasparian, Director of Marketing, Communications and Film Commission for the Waco Convention Center.  “Waco Mammoth National Monument is now included in the world’s best natural and cultural resource protection system, the National Park Service.”

Inclusion in the park system means instant credibility and nation-wide promotion for the site, the City of Waco and the Monument with access to professional paleontologists and resource managers from a wide variety of fossil-rich NPS sites across the nation.

“With the help of the NPS, we look forward to advancing our scientific and recreational futures at Waco Mammoth National Monument,” Kasparian said.

Opened to the public in December of 2009 Waco’s Mammoth National Monument offers visitors from the Dallas/Fort Worth area a chance to view 24 in-situ fossil remains of Columbian mammoths and other Ice Age animals. Mammoths originated in the Old World and entered North America 1.8 million years ago and the Columbian mammoth (Mammuthus columbi) is descended from these early immigrants and lived during the Ice Age before becoming extinct about 10,000 years ago. While the Columbian mammoth is a distant relative of the woolly mammoth, the woolly mammoth was smaller and lived farther north in colder regions.

At the site, six of the 24-plus mammoths have been left partially in the ground and uncovered for viewing and all are located in a state-of-the-art, climate-controlled Dig Shelter that was built around the fossils so that visitors are able to view the remains in air-conditioned comfort.

 “Our National Parks inspire and teach us about our nation’s natural history – in this case, about the prehistoric animals that walked our Earth tens of thousands of years ago,” said Sally Jewell, Secretary of the Interior.  “The Waco Mammoth National Monument will share the wonder of these incredible mammoths with visitors from around the world and help introduce a new generation to the thrill of scientific discovery that only a special site like this can demonstrate first-hand.”

The Waco Mammoth National Monument sits within 100 acres of wooded parkland along the Bosque River and is one-and-a-half hours from the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

Hours of operation:

Tuesdays –Fridays: Open 11:00 a.m. –5:00 p.m.
Saturdays: Open 9:00 a.m. –5:00 p.m.
Sundays and Mondays: Closed
(Also closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year's Day)

For more information visit http://www.nps.gov/waco/index.htm

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