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Outbound: Tales of Mastodons Science Talk

You probably don’t often stop to think that mastodons walked this land, millions of years ago. No, not “lands” in general, we’re actually referring to the lands of WNY. That’s right, these forebearers of the common day elephant, which went extinct thousands of years ago, roamed around these exact parts – the research is readily backed up by fossil discoveries, including those at Penn Dixie (from the Hiscock Site).

For further proof that mastodons walked these lands, you can pay heed to Philip J. Stokes, PhD, Executive Director of the Hamburg Natural History Society, who has spent a good amount of time documenting the history of the mastodons by researching their remains.

Restoration of an American mastodon herd by Charles R. Knight

My photo shows historic excavations at the Hiscock Site circa summer 2006 (image – left) and a mastodon chin tusk (image – right),” said Stokes. “While working on my MS research project from 2005-2006, I participated in the Hiscock Site dig under the guidance of Dr. Laub. We attempted to use ground penetrating radar to locate mastodon bones and learn more about the history of the site.”

If this all sounds somewhat fantastical, and hard to wrap your mind around, then you might want to attend an upcoming science talk by Dr. Richard S. Laub himself, former Curator of Geology at the Buffalo Museum of Science. Laub will host an illustrated presentation featuring mastodon fossils and other specimens. Come learn about how they lived, and where they lived, and what else the fossil discoveries can tell us about these fascinating and long extinct beasts. 

“Hiscock is a paleontological and archaeological site in northern Genesee County,” said Laub. “It was excavated by the Buffalo Museum of Science from 1983 to 2011, revealing a rich record of changing faunas, floras, cultures and environments over the past 13,500 years.  From the late Ice Age, through the period of the virgin forest, to the time of European settlement, we found confirmation of much that we had expected.  However, there were also many surprises, such that what we thought we were getting into at the beginning had changed dramatically by the time we came out the other end. One point that was driven home is that, more often than not, the most important objects are the small ones, which can so easily be overlooked.”

Tales of Mastodons (and Others) from the Hiscock Site

Wednesday February 13 2019

7 pm

Hamburg Natural History Society/Penn Dixie

The presentation will be held in the auditorium of the Gateway Executive Office Building, 3556 Lake Shore Rd. Blasdell, NY. Admission is $4 or FREE to Penn Dixie members and their guests. No registration needed. Snacks and refreshments will be provided.

Written by Buffalo Rising

Buffalo Rising

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