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Reading Bones like Books
September 20, 2000


The feet of a Columbian mammoth
11,350 B.C.E.: A giant mammoth walks through grass and pine trees toward a pond. He is 12 feet tall at the shoulder and weighs two and a half tons. His tusks are nearly 13 feet long. He has already eaten 200 pounds of grass today. Now he wants to wash it down with a dozen gallons of water!

That's me holding an enormous mammoth molar!
As he approaches the pond, he notices the other animals. There is a saber-tooth cat and a herd of bison. He thinks he can handle these animals. So he wades in, takes a big gulp of water, and sprays it at the sloth, just for fun. But all of a sudden -- fffwomp! Something hits his thick hide. He turns in time to see a group of strange animals without trunks or horns, standing around the pond, throwing pointy pieces of wood him. Oh, no! It's those crazy Clovis people!

The mammoth tries to charge them, but realizes they are everywhere, whooping and hollering, jumping up and down. The people surround him. He looks up just in time to see a boulder falling toward him from the branches of a tree.

The mammoth was hunted and killed by the Clovis people, the first people known to have lived in North America. These people would use his meat for food, his hide for clothing, and his tusks for tools and jewelry.

Joanne Dickenson investigates 11,000 years of history
In 1929, a fourteen-year old boy named Ridgely Whiteman and some of his friends found a LOT of spearheads in the ground. They decided to show them to scientists, and it turned out the boys had discovered weapons from the Clovis people.

Clovis people once lived right here!
Today, archeologists still dig up tools and weapons in Blackwater Draw, New Mexico to learn more about the Clovis people. Archeologists like Joanne Dickenson put together the things they dig up like pieces of a puzzle, to understand how our earliest human ancestors lived.


Please email me at: stephanie@ustrek.org


Links to Other Dispatches

Rebecca - Goopy goo and mammoth tusks
Nick - Is that a spear in your backyard?
Team - It's cool being 3 feet tall