November 14, 2013

Researchers pull mammoth teeth … out of the ground

The Oskaloosa Herald

OSKALOOSA — Researchers did some dentistry at the mammoth dig site Tuesday afternoon — they pulled a mammoth tooth … out of the ground.

Scientists, with the help of William Penn University professor Janet Ewart’s students, uncovered a mammoth tooth that researchers found at a spot they had been walking over for more than a year.

The tooth was removed from a portion of the dig site that has fascinated scientists this year. Workers removed the tooth before winter weather closes out the digging season. Exposed mammoth fossils would be harmed if not removed from the ground.

“There’s several events coming together,” said Dave Brenzel of the Indian Creek Nature Center in Cedar Rapids.

In a 10-foot section of wall on the northwest side of the dig site, the ground varies from wind-blown loess to sand and gravel to clay.

Brenzel said the three kinds of sediment was found in the creek bed of a tributary of the Skunk River. During the Ice Age, the waterway carried a variety of sediment during high flow and low flow events, he said.

“We’re so lucky to have Art (Bettis) here,” Brenzel said of the University of Iowa sediment expert. “He’ll be back.”

Herald Editor Duane Nollen can be reached by email at oskynews@oskyherald.com