Monday, 2 September 2013

Mastodon state park

Continuing our studies on how early people arrived in the American we visited Mastodon state park and learned about the various theories of how people arrived in North America.

Mastodon is the site of the Kimmswick Bone Bed, where scientist discovered the first solid evidence of the coexistence of humans and the American Mastodon in eastern North America

There are several theories of how the first people arrived, the kids and I are learning that it was either through the Bering strait which was once a land mass or along the Kelp bed.  However here we learned there are two more theories of people arriving through the atlantic or pacific ocean routes.  It was good to have a discussion as a family why we aren't too sure of these last two routes, mainly due to the distance in the oceans and no land to stop for supplies, but also if the Vikings weren't able to sustain a colony which occurred hundreds of years later and they were more advanced how could a group of people with less advances survived.  

ONe of the questions the children had was what was the difference between a Mastodon and a Mammoth.  This is a replica of a Mastodon trunk which weighs close to 250 pounds found near this site

Along with Mastodon, there were giant beavers (skull above compare to the size today) Giant sloths, Bears and Peccaries

The people who were present at this time are call Clovis people

At the Kimmswick Bone bed a Clovis head was found near Mastodon bones.  

As a family we finally learned the difference between these two animals

sample of the different teeth.  It is believe that the Mammoth diet consisted more of grass hence the flatter teeth where as the Mastodon are more like today's elephant and ate grass as well as leaves and trees branches hence the sharper teeth 

Giant sloth


sample of the arrow heads

Right outside the visitor is a trail that takes you to the bone beds, currently there are no excavations going on at this site, and it has been completely buried to preserve it

This site was first discovered in the 1800's and the original bones were put together incorrectly and the man who found them called the new creature the Missouri Leviathan.  It wasn't until the bones were sent to the UK that it was discovered to be a Mastodon.  IN the 1970's the public revived interest in the site due to a highway that was considered to be built directly over the bed.  Though local support and eventually state support the area was purchased under the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and it was saved for everyone to visit and explore.  There are several other walking trails associated with this park

I am discovering that Missouri is very hilly and again we had to climb up and down over 120 steps to get to the site.    This on a day of 94 degrees!

It was another lovely day out and as a family we are enjoying seeing history in our local area!


  1. We need to visit there. More fun adventures :)

  2. Wow what a brilliant place to visit & so many new things to learn!

  3. Congrats to one of the most interesting bloggers I know. I really enjoy reading your blog and checking out your pictures and seeing what the latest family adventure entails. I just drew your blog as this month's blog of the month feature on blog mommas, too. Hope you're having an awesome holiday weekend!

  4. I never even gave any thought to the difference between a mammoth and a mastodon! I'm just glad that today's beavers and sloths aren't giant!

  5. I always love to learn things when I read your posts. I really do enjoy your adventures.
    I don't know the year of dating for what you learned; let me know on this one.
    Meanwhile, in The Book of Mormon is the story of a family that came to the America's in 600 BC until 421 AD. It is a the record of a people who were guided here. It is a history of their culture, wars and etc. We believe they spread out from South America up into North America. They would be the descendants of the Mayan people and later the Native Americans of today. Missouri has played a big part in the History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day saints.
    Thanks for sharing this one; I will hope to visit there myself sometime. I have a daughter who lives in Peculiar, Missouri.