A mammoth is discovered in San Jose (cont.)

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bones. The block containing the pelvic bones was fairly large and broad, so to strengthen its plaster jacket, a couple of 2x4s were included in the jacket, with plaster-soaked burlap strips used to hold them in place. Then it was on to the pair of tusks and partial skull. In trenching around these, a rib and a couple of possible foot bones were discovered. The block containing the tusks and skull was even larger than the one with the pelvic bones—it too required a couple 2x4s for added strength. Both blocks were extremely heavy, so a crane was brought in to lift them into a truck bed for the eventual drive to UCMP for preparation. What appeared to be a series of ribs were discovered in further digging near where the pelvic block had been removed. Graduate students Nick Pyenson, Samantha Hopkins, and Katie Brakora all worked to trench around and jacket the ribs in one last, large block. As of this writing, the excavation has been completed and all the bones and jackets are currently in the UCMP Prep Lab.
Preparation has already begun on the plaster jacket containing the tusks and skull. Small, not fully erupted teeth reveal that this mammoth was a juvenile one. Mark Goodwin estimates that it may have stood only six feet high at the shoulder.
Samples of sediment were collected to help determine the taphonomy (the environment of deposition) of the quarry—to try and determine how these mammoth bones came to be in this location. Bone samples will be

  Randy Irmis finds a rib Mark and Beth Goodwin cover exposed bone with wet paper towels At top, Randy Irmis uncovers a rib while trenching around the tusks and skull. (photo by Mark Goodwin)
At bottom, Mark Goodwin and his daughter, Beth, place wet paper towels over any exposed bone prior to jacketing the tusks/skull block with plaster-soaked burlap strips. (photo by Jenny McGuire)

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