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A Mammoth Discovery at Foothill College

Sheryl Guiao

Sheryl Guiao

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Foothill College has a mammoth on display in the Center for Applied Anthropology in room 3102. A farmer in Castroville was plowing his field when he struck something which turned out to be a mammoth tusk unknowingly. After first realizing his discovery, he called Mark Hylkema, a California State Archaeologist and a professor at Foothill College. Hylkema then brought in students to excavate the find in 2011. It was determined to be a Columbian Mammoth, which is bigger than a Wooly Mammoth, and was dated to about 20,000 years old. Mammoth hair was also recovered and submitted to DNA testing, which unfortunately was not successful.

The research process is ongoing. We currently have an entirely student-run project in processing the mammoth. First, students assign the bones catalog numbers if they have not already been given one. Then, we wet-screen the bone fragments to remove as much of the sun-baked clay as possible. After that, we bag or display the bones in assigned boxes which are ready for return to the state. This is one of the many ongoing research projects in the Anthropology Lab. Opportunities such as these are rare to find at a community college level. Interested students may apply for the Winter 2018 quarter by searching for ANTH 57: Applied Archaeology Field Methods.

Dani Jacobsma is a Fall Quarter anthropology student. 

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