October 3 – 4, 2020.
We were on our way to look at some fossils in Utah and Colorado but then after consulting the map we realized there were lots of fossils along the way. We decided to make it a fossil journey stopping also at sites in South Dakota and Nebraska.
The Mammoth Site
In 1974 a piece of land was being prepared for a housing development in Hot Springs, SD when the blade of the heavy equipment doing the grading struck something that gleamed white in the sunlight. On closer inspection, a tusk about seven feet long was found, along with other bones.
The owner of the land, Phil Anderson, connected with Dr. Larry Agenbroad from Chadron State College in Chadron, Nebraska. Anderson halted the development while a crew excavated the site. An unprecedented amount of mammoth fossils were uncovered.
Anderson realized that his 14 acres of land slated for the housing development was more valuable for scientific study so he donated the land to a nonprofit, The Mammoth Site.
The site is now a museum and active dig site with visiting students and scientists from all over the world.
World Fossil Finder Museum
Just a short drive from The Mammoth Site in Hot Springs we found the World Fossil Finder Museum. This museum exhibits fossils from all over the world. Here we took a short docent-led tour through the museum.
Agate Fossil Beds National Monument
While we were at The Mammoth Site we watched a short video about other dig sites and fossil discoveries in the region. One, Agate Fossil Beds National Monument, part of the National Park system was in Nebraska, not too far off our path to Utah.