The Significance of the Waco Mammoth Site to Central Texas Pleistocene History




Naryshkin, George F.

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A fossil assemblage consisting of three fragments of the lower jaw of Alligator mississippiensis and of articulated skeletal material of five individual specimens of Mammuthus columbi occurs in point bar deposits of the second terrace of the Brazos River, in Steinbeck Bend, Waco, Texas (Waco West Quadrangle 1/24:000). Correlation of the sequence of gravels, sands and clays with those in the Trinity River indicates Sangamon age or approximately 37,000 years B.P. Reconstruction of the paleoclimatic frost line north of the site, suggests a warmer climate than exists today in the area. Ecologically, the Waco Mammoth Site indicates a homogeneous climate in Central Texas during the Sangamon, that allowed Mammuthus columbi and Alligator mississippiensis to migrate throughout this area. Examination of the teeth and tusks revealed the sex and age of each individual and from this, the social structure of the community was determined. This showed no similarity to any social structure of the African elephant, suggesting a non-catastrophic cause of death. The high degree of articulation indicated that the mammoths either floated to the point bar shortly after their death, or died in situ. The large percentage of old males at the site suggested that killing by ancient man (similar to modern poaching practices on the African continent) may have been the cause of death of the mammoths. Kill sites of the Sangamon Age on the Trinity River in Dallas and ton counties suggest the Waco Mammoth Site could be a product of normal fluvial burial following human kill. No artifacts nor any other signs of ancient man have been at the site, supporting the "floatation to point bar" hypothesis. However, of mammoth material in this region suggests the widespread practice of mammoth killing by ancient man as early as 37,000 B. P.



Waco, TX, Mammoths, Central Texas, Fossils, Death