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Friday November 15, 2019

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Colorado Mastodon Bones Reveals Ancient Warm Earth; Several Findings Can Be Used to Compare Existing Climate Models

Dec 01, 2014 11:23 PM EST | By Adelyn Torralba
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Researchers have recently published the first batch of data from the unearthed ancient mastodon bones after an extensive research in Snowmass, Colorado four years ago.

According to the study published in the journal Quaternary Research recently, bones of the ancient humongous animal gave the researchers the idea of "what a warmer world was like." The data will be significant information that can be compared to the existing climate change theories and models.

The 47-person team of scientists was able to unearthed remains of prehistoric animals like mastodons, giant sloths, huge bison, and even insects, and plants back in 2010. After years of research and study, the group was able to get a glimpse of how the ancient creature adapted to the Earth's warming 120,000 years ago.

Lead by paleontologist Mike Getty with Hillary McLean, the researchers concluded that "the warmer weather allowed forests to reach about 2,500 feet farther up the mountainside than today's tree line, which is about 11,500 feet above sea level at the Snowmass site."

This finding means "forests also may have been denser, and smaller trees and grasslands might have been more widespread amid dried conditions." The bones excavated served as evidence that nature can react in unexpected ways when the temperature continue to rise.

Mastodon bones along with other artifacts were discovered unexpectedly near Snowmass, Colorado when a reservoir is being expanded. The Earth Sciences Department at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science said the site was spectacular with such large amount of artifacts.

"The site is spectacular because it has a single continuous pile of sediment from the most recent interglacial period," Ian Miller said. The co-director of Snowmastodon Project of the museum also noted, "It's a beautiful record of the last time it was as warm or warmer than it is today."

Once a natural lake, the 9,000 feet above sea level yielded a total of 35 mastodons which are either male or female and either young or old. 50 other ancient species were also excavated in the area.

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