Mammoth 1

A major paleontological discovery in the Black Hills of South Dakota provides new knowledge about the mysterious and fascinating prehistoric world, helping to fill in previous gaps.

Once, gigantic mammoths, ancestors of the majestic elephants of today, roamed freely in the High Plains of North America. A repository of their remains, along with other kinds of animals now extinct, lay entombed in the earth until their discovery 26,000 years later at what is now called the Hot Springs Mammoth Site. The fossil remains of more than 100 mammoths reside there in primary context–that is, the skeletons of the animals are still located where they died. Since the discovery in 1974, scientists have excavated the remains of 58 mammoths that include 55 Columbian and 3 woolly mammoths, as well as over 80 other species of animals and plants.

The skeletons were uncovered in what was once a prehistoric sinkhole that formed when limestone deposits within the earth’s surface dissolved in water from underground springs. The land then collapsed, and the resulting hole filled with water, luring the huge mammoths to drink or feed on vegetation. Once in the water, they could not climb back up the slippery, steep incline because of their body mass and weight, so they remained trapped forever in the sinkhole.

The Mammoth Site’s 36,000 square foot visitor center is climate controlled and universally accessible. A kid’s activity area offers young scientists “hands-on” learning. You can also get a glimpse behind the scenes at the Mammoth Site’s new laboratory.

Mammoth Photo 2

Year round guided tours offer visitors a display of bones found in situ (in original position) and an opportunity to experience a living exhibit of paleontology activity. Allow at least an hour to take the tour and view other exhibits.  While you’re there, be sure to browse the extensive book/museum store that features many unique souvenirs for your entire family.

The Mammoth Site serves as a model of success for other paleontological and archeological sites.

The Mammoth Site
1800 Hwy 18 Truck Rt.
PO Box 692
Hot Springs, SD 57747-0692
(605) 745-6017

Mammoth Photo 3