On October 14, 2010 a local construction crew stumbled upon the bone of a young Columbian mammoth while expanding Zeigler Reservoir in Snowmass Village. As soon as the Denver Museum of Nature & Science got the go ahead, they traveled three and a half hours west from Denver to Snowmass Village and began excavation on November 2nd. In less than two weeks they team of scientists and volunteers uncovered the following:
- 8 to 10 American mastadons
- 4 Columbian mammoths
- 2 Ice Age deer
- 4 Ice Age bison
- 1 Jefferson’s ground sloth (first ever found in Colorado)
- 1 tiger salamander
- Evidence of Ice Age Beavers from distinctly chewed wood
- Insects such as iridescent beetles
- Snails and microscopic crustaceans called ostracods
- Large amounts of well-preserved wood, cones and seeds
- Large amounts of leaves of white spruce, sub-alpine fir, sedges, seeds and other plants
After all is said and done they found approximately 600 bones and bone pieces and hundreds of pounds of plant matter from Ice Age Colorado.
Through radiocarbon dating, it is suggested that the Zeigler Reservoir area is at least 43,500 years old and as old as 130,000 years. This amazing discovery in Colorado is an important link into understanding life and the communities that inhabited the high altitudes of the Rocky Mountains during the Ice Age.
For more information and to see some of the artifacts unearthed check out the Denver Museum of Nature & Science online at http://www.dmns.org