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Rare UW Mammoth Specimen Joins Major Traveling Exhibition

December 18, 2009
Mammoth skull
A popular exhibit at the University of Wyoming Geological Museum, this well-preserved mammoth skull will be showcased in a traveling exhibition that begins this spring at Chicago's Field Museum.

A mammoth that roamed Wyoming 11,500 years ago is going on the road.

University of Wyoming paleontologist Mark Clementz says the Columbian mammoth skull, housed in the university's Geological Museum for decades, will be part of a traveling exhibition of mammoths and mastodons. UW contributed the skull at the request of scientists at Chicago's Field Museum.

"They came to us because our mammoth skull is special -- it's a complete skull with lower jaw and tusks that came from a well-preserved specimen of a large individual," says Clementz, an assistant professor in the Department of Geology and Geophysics. "It will make an impressive display."

UW Geology Professor Brainerd Mears Jr. in 1961 recovered the skull at a bog deposit near Rawlins in Carbon County. Radiocarbon dating indicates it is about 11,500 years old.

"We're very excited to contribute to this exhibit and view this as an opportunity to promote the quality of specimens housed in our museum as well as the quality of scientific research being carried out at the University of Wyoming," Clementz says.

"The preparators at the Field Museum will clean and repair the skull and tusks so that not only will they be showroom quality, they will also be in better shape for long-term curation," he adds.

The specimen will be displayed March 5-Sept. 6 at the Field Museum. The exhibition is then scheduled to be displayed in major museums through March, 2014. The skull will be displayed at the Houston Museum of Natural Science; Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, N.J.; Anchorage Museum; Boston's Museum of Science; Denver Museum of Nature & Science; and London's Natural History Museum.


Posted on Friday, December 18, 2009

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