Julie B. Hewitt Attorney at Law

Subtitle

Mammoths & Mastodons in Chautauqua County

&

 The year is 12,000 B.P., during the last ice age.  The place is the Conewango Creek on the Chautauqua- Cattaraugus County border.  The land is covered with a thick growth of spruce trees, with none of the deciduous trees we know today.  The air is cool and moist.  The polar ice caps are frozen, and the large glaciers in the northern tier of the continent  are slowly receding.  Along the creek, acres of swampy land is filled with swamp plants and coarse grasses.  A herd of shaggy, reddish-brown Mastodon moves slowly through the swampy area as they feed.  The herd includes a group of females that move the herd along their feeding grounds, and a number of youngsters.  Some of the adult Mastodons are pregnant, and won't probably deliver until  22 months of gestation.  The youngsters grow slowly until they reach maturity and can take their place in the order of the herd. Until then, the herd protects them from their natural predators, the American Scimitar Cat and the spear-hunting Paleo-Indians.  Like Elephants, the Mastodons are intelligent, and are affectionate with herd members.  In the spring and early summer, male Mastodons fight for the rights to the females.  They battle with their tusks until the enamel is damaged. 

The four to six ton animals have long tusks on their upper jaw, but it is the short tusk on the lower jaw that works so well to strip bark from trees.  Their big molars munch up the pieces of bark, or spruce branches up to a half inch in diameter.  The smaller members of the herd chew low lying spruce branches or shrubs and the tough swamp plants.  Feeding 16 to 18 hours at a time, and eating up to 300 pounds of food in a day,  the Mastodons are destructive feeders.  They topple trees and ruin plants, so the herd must move continually to find new feeding grounds.  Hopefully, their travels will take them to a feeding place with a salt lick, a favorite treat for the herd and a good source of minerals. 

As the Mastodons travel to the Conewango Creek, they pass a herd of Columbian Mammoths in what is now Randolph.  They do not stop to graze with their distant relatives, because the area is open and grassy.  Mammoths like to graze on grass and have the flat teeth to efficiently chew the grasses, but the Mastodons have pointed molars more suited to eating spruce branches.  One of the Mammoths they pass will die at these feeding grounds and his body will be discovered in 1934 when the new fish hatchery is built.

Before the Mastodon herd leaves the Conewango Creek area for new feeding grounds, they lose one members of their herd.  She is an elderly Mastodon who lies down next to the creek in the afternoon sun and never gets up again.  Her bones lie in the creek until the early 1900's when they are discovered. 

As the Mastodons continue on they find good feeding on a ridge of hills just north of present day Jamestown.  The hills separate the Chautauqua Valley from the Cassadaga Valley, and a fresh breeze blows across the ridge.  Trouble lurks for the unwary however and several Mastodons carelessly walk into a marshy area. It may look like good place to graze, but it is a pit of mire.  Their heavy bodies sink into the mire, and although they struggle to get free, they are trapped.  It takes weeks to die, hungry and thirsty and unable to reach safety just a few yards away.  One large Mastodon and one small one die in this mucky grave.   Their remains are discovered in 1871.

Until they became extinct 10,000 years ago, Mastodons roamed across all of North America, including Cattaraugus and Chautauqua Counties.  Distantly related to the African Elephant and the Woolly Mammoth, the Mastodon left extensive evidence of its life in this area.  In the Conewango Creek, numerous mastodon bones were found in the early 1900's.  In 1871 in Jamestown, several Mastodons were found in a sinkhole where many farm cattle have perished like the Mastodon. A Mastodon tooth was found in Jamestown in 1843, and in Westfield in 1902 several mastodon bones were discovered.  Countless other finds have been made throughout Western New York from the famous Hiscock dig in Byron to the North Java Mastodon, and finds in Attica, Perry, Pike, Sheridan, LeRoy, Medina, Holley, Batavia, Niagara Falls, Rochester, Geneseo etc. Also of interest is the Randolph Mammoth find, in which a fossilized set of Mammoth tusks were found in the Cattaraugus County town in 1934.   

While scientists agree that the Mastodon became extinct about 10,000 years ago, they don't agree on the reason why.   Some posit that over-hunting, or climate change decimated the herds.  Others argue that a tuberculosis infection was responsible.  Whatever the cause, wouldn't it have been magnificent to meet one of these mighty creatures?

 The year is 12,000 B.P., during the last ice age.  The place is the Conewango Creek on the Chautauqua- Cattaraugus County border.  The land is covered with a thick growth of spruce trees, with none of the deciduous trees we know today.  The air is cool and moist.  The polar ice caps are frozen, and the large glaciers in the northern tier of the continent  are slowly receding.  Along the creek, acres of swampy land is filled with swamp plants and coarse grasses.  A herd of shaggy, reddish-brown Mastodon moves slowly through the swampy area as they feed.  The herd includes a group of females that move the herd along their feeding grounds, and a number of youngsters.  Some of the adult Mastodons are pregnant, and won't probably deliver until  22 months of gestation.  The youngsters grow slowly until they reach maturity and can take their place in the order of the herd. Until then, the herd protects them from their natural predators, the American Scimitar Cat and the spear-hunting Paleo-Indians.  Like Elephants, the Mastodons are intelligent, and are affectionate with herd members.  In the spring and early summer, male Mastodons fight for the rights to the females.  They battle with their tusks until the enamel is damaged.

The four to six ton animals have long tusks on their upper jaw, but it is the short tusk on the lower jaw that works so well to strip bark from trees.  Their big molars munch up the pieces of bark, or spruce branches up to a half inch in diameter.  The smaller members of the herd chew low lying spruce branches or shrubs and the tough swamp plants.  Feeding 16 to 18 hours at a time, and eating up to 300 pounds of food in a day,  the Mastodons are destructive feeders.  They topple trees and ruin plants, so the herd must move continually to find new feeding grounds.  Hopefully, their travels will take them to a feeding place with a salt lick, a favorite treat for the herd and a good source of minerals.  

  As the Mastodons travel to the Conewango Creek, they pass a herd of Columbian Mammoths in what is now Randolph.  They do not stop to graze with their distant relatives, because the area is open and grassy.  Mammoths like to graze on grass and have the flat teeth to efficiently chew the grasses, but the Mastodons have pointed molars more suited to eating spruce branches.  One of the Mammoths they pass will die at these feeding grounds and his body will be discovered in 1934 when the new fish hatchery is built.

Before the Mastodon herd leaves the Conewango Creek area for new feeding grounds, they lose one member of their herd.  She is an elderly Mastodon who lies down next to the creek in the afternoon sun and never gets up again.  Her bones lie in the creek until the early 1900's when they are discovered.   

As the Mastodons continue on they find good feeding on a ridge of hills just north of present day Jamestown.  The hills separate the Chautauqua Valley from the Cassadaga Valley, and a fresh breeze blows across the ridge.  Trouble lurks for the unwary however. Two Mastodons, a large one about 10 to 15' tall with tusks of 10-12' and a small one about 7' tall with tusks 4' in length, carelessly walk into a marshy area. It may look like good place to feed, but it is a pit of mire.  Their heavy bodies sink into the mire, and although they struggle to get free, they are trapped.  Often it would take weeks to die, hungry, thirsty and unable to reach safety just a few yards away, but in this case there is enough water that the Mastodons mercifully die quickly. In fact, they die so quickly that the stomach contents of the large one are preserved.  Thousands of years later in 1871, their remains will be discovered still imprisoned in their mucky grave, and eventually be moved to a display at Jamestown High School.   

 

Until they became extinct 10,000 years ago, Mastodons roamed across all of North America, including Cattaraugus and Chautauqua Counties.  Distantly related to the African Elephant and the Woolly Mammoth, the Mastodon left extensive evidence of its life in this area.  In the Conewango Creek, numerous mastodon bones were found in the early 1900's.  In 1871 in Jamestown, several Mastodons were found in a sinkhole where many farm cattle have perished like the Mastodon. A Mastodon tooth was found in Jamestown in 1843, and in Westfield in 1902 several mastodon bones were discovered.  Countless other finds have been made throughout Western New York from the famous Hiscock dig in Byron to the North Java Mastodon, and finds in Attica, Perry, Pike, Sheridan, LeRoy, Medina, Holley, Batavia, Niagara Falls, Rochester, Geneseo etc. Also of interest is the Randolph Mammoth find, in which a fossilized set of Mammoth tusks were found in the Cattaraugus County town in 1934.                                        

While scientists agree that the Mastodon became extinct about 10,000 years ago, they don't agree on the reason why.   Some posit that over-hunting, or climate change decimated the herds.  Others argue that a tuberculosis infection was responsible.    

 Dr. John Collins Warren, who taught anatomy at Harvard University in the 1800's, was a great admirer of the Mastodon.  In fact, he spent the astronomical sum of $10,000 to purchase his own mastodon skeleton.  In his 1855 memoirs he wrote this glowing description of the Mastodon : 

"Language is insufficient to give an idea of the grandeur of this skeleton as a whole.  Standing as it does in the midst of those            of various large animals- the horse, the cow, others and towering above them, its massive limbs make them sink into insignificance. Even the elephant, although nearly as tall, has a frame which might be called delicate when compared with that of the mastodon."

 For Dr. Warren to be so impressed by the bones of a long-dead beast, imagine how impressive the live animal must have been to those humans who lived in the era of the Mastodon.


 The year is 12,000 B.P., during the last ice age.  The place is the Conewango Creek on the Chautauqua- Cattaraugus County border.  The land is covered with a thick growth of spruce trees, with none of the deciduous trees we know today.  The air is cool and moist.  The polar ice caps are frozen, and the large glaciers in the northern tier of the continent  are slowly receding.  Along the creek, acres of swampy land is filled with swamp plants and coarse grasses.  A herd of shaggy, reddish-brown Mastodon moves slowly through the swampy area as they feed.  The herd includes a group of females that move the herd along their feeding grounds, and a number of youngsters.  Some of the adult Mastodons are pregnant, and won't probably deliver until  22 months of gestation.  The youngsters grow slowly until they reach maturity and can take their place in the order of the herd. Until then, the herd protects them from their natural predators, the American Scimitar Cat and the spear-hunting Paleo-Indians.  Like Elephants, the Mastodons are intelligent, and are affectionate with herd members.  In the spring and early summer, male Mastodons fight for the rights to the females.  They battle with their tusks until the enamel is damaged.

The four to six ton animals have long tusks on their upper jaw, but it is the short tusk on the lower jaw that works so well to strip bark from trees.  Their big molars munch up the pieces of bark, or spruce branches up to a half inch in diameter.  The smaller members of the herd chew low lying spruce branches or shrubs and the tough swamp plants.  Feeding 16 to 18 hours at a time, and eating up to 300 pounds of food in a day,  the Mastodons are destructive feeders.  They topple trees and ruin plants, so the herd must move continually to find new feeding grounds.  Hopefully, their travels will take them to a feeding place with a salt lick, a favorite treat for the herd and a good source of minerals.  

  As the Mastodons travel to the Conewango Creek, they pass a herd of Columbian Mammoths in what is now Randolph.  They do not stop to graze with their distant relatives, because the area is open and grassy.  Mammoths like to graze on grass and have the flat teeth to efficiently chew the grasses, but the Mastodons have pointed molars more suited to eating spruce branches.  One of the Mammoths they pass will die at these feeding grounds and his body will be discovered in 1934 when the new fish hatchery is built.

Before the Mastodon herd leaves the Conewango Creek area for new feeding grounds, they lose one member of their herd.  She is an elderly Mastodon who lies down next to the creek in the afternoon sun and never gets up again.  Her bones lie in the creek until the early 1900's when they are discovered.   

As the Mastodons continue on they find good feeding on a ridge of hills just north of present day Jamestown.  The hills separate the Chautauqua Valley from the Cassadaga Valley, and a fresh breeze blows across the ridge.  Trouble lurks for the unwary however. Two Mastodons, a large one about 10 to 15' tall with tusks of 10-12' and a small one about 7' tall with tusks 4' in length, carelessly walk into a marshy area. It may look like good place to feed, but it is a pit of mire.  Their heavy bodies sink into the mire, and although they struggle to get free, they are trapped.  Often it would take weeks to die, hungry, thirsty and unable to reach safety just a few yards away, but in this case there is enough water that the Mastodons mercifully die quickly. In fact, they die so quickly that the stomach contents of the large one are preserved.  Thousands of years later in 1871, their remains will be discovered still imprisoned in their mucky grave, and eventually be moved to a display at Jamestown High School.   

 

Until they became extinct 10,000 years ago, Mastodons roamed across all of North America, including Cattaraugus and Chautauqua Counties.  Distantly related to the African Elephant and the Woolly Mammoth, the Mastodon left extensive evidence of its life in this area.  In the Conewango Creek, numerous mastodon bones were found in the early 1900's.  In 1871 in Jamestown, several Mastodons were found in a sinkhole where many farm cattle have perished like the Mastodon. A Mastodon tooth was found in Jamestown in 1843, and in Westfield in 1902 several mastodon bones were discovered.  Countless other finds have been made throughout Western New York from the famous Hiscock dig in Byron to the North Java Mastodon, and finds in Attica, Perry, Pike, Sheridan, LeRoy, Medina, Holley, Batavia, Niagara Falls, Rochester, Geneseo etc. Also of interest is the Randolph Mammoth find, in which a fossilized set of Mammoth tusks were found in the Cattaraugus County town in 1934.                                        

While scientists agree that the Mastodon became extinct about 10,000 years ago, they don't agree on the reason why.   Some posit that over-hunting, or climate change decimated the herds.  Others argue that a tuberculosis infection was responsible.    

 Dr. John Collins Warren, who taught anatomy at Harvard University in the 1800's, was a great admirer of the Mastodon.  In fact, he spent the astronomical sum of $10,000 to purchase his own mastodon skeleton.  In his 1855 memoirs he wrote this glowing description of the Mastodon : 

"Language is insufficient to give an idea of the grandeur of this skeleton as a whole.  Standing as it does in the midst of those            of various large animals- the horse, the cow, others and towering above them, its massive limbs make them sink into insignificance. Even the elephant, although nearly as tall, has a frame which might be called delicate when compared with that of the mastodon."

 For Dr. Warren to be so impressed by the bones of a long-dead beast, imagine how impressive the live animal must have been to those humans who lived in the era of the Mastodon.


 The year is 12,000 B.P., during the last ice age.  The place is the Conewango Creek on the Chautauqua- Cattaraugus County border.  The land is covered with a thick growth of spruce trees, with none of the deciduous trees we know today.  The air is cool and moist.  The polar ice caps are frozen, and the large glaciers in the northern tier of the continent  are slowly receding.  Along the creek, acres of swampy land is filled with swamp plants and coarse grasses.  A herd of shaggy, reddish-brown Mastodon moves slowly through the swampy area as they feed.  The herd includes a group of females that move the herd along their feeding grounds, and a number of youngsters.  Some of the adult Mastodons are pregnant, and won't probably deliver until  22 months of gestation.  The youngsters grow slowly until they reach maturity and can take their place in the order of the herd. Until then, the herd protects them from their natural predators, the American Scimitar Cat and the spear-hunting Paleo-Indians.  Like Elephants, the Mastodons are intelligent, and are affectionate with herd members.  In the spring and early summer, male Mastodons fight for the rights to the females.  They battle with their tusks until the enamel is damaged.

The four to six ton animals have long tusks on their upper jaw, but it is the short tusk on the lower jaw that works so well to strip bark from trees.  Their big molars munch up the pieces of bark, or spruce branches up to a half inch in diameter.  The smaller members of the herd chew low lying spruce branches or shrubs and the tough swamp plants.  Feeding 16 to 18 hours at a time, and eating up to 300 pounds of food in a day,  the Mastodons are destructive feeders.  They topple trees and ruin plants, so the herd must move continually to find new feeding grounds.  Hopefully, their travels will take them to a feeding place with a salt lick, a favorite treat for the herd and a good source of minerals.  

  As the Mastodons travel to the Conewango Creek, they pass a herd of Columbian Mammoths in what is now Randolph.  They do not stop to graze with their distant relatives, because the area is open and grassy.  Mammoths like to graze on grass and have the flat teeth to efficiently chew the grasses, but the Mastodons have pointed molars more suited to eating spruce branches.  One of the Mammoths they pass will die at these feeding grounds and his body will be discovered in 1934 when the new fish hatchery is built.

Before the Mastodon herd leaves the Conewango Creek area for new feeding grounds, they lose one member of their herd.  She is an elderly Mastodon who lies down next to the creek in the afternoon sun and never gets up again.  Her bones lie in the creek until the early 1900's when they are discovered.   

As the Mastodons continue on they find good feeding on a ridge of hills just north of present day Jamestown.  The hills separate the Chautauqua Valley from the Cassadaga Valley, and a fresh breeze blows across the ridge.  Trouble lurks for the unwary however. Two Mastodons, a large one about 10 to 15' tall with tusks of 10-12' and a small one about 7' tall with tusks 4' in length, carelessly walk into a marshy area. It may look like good place to feed, but it is a pit of mire.  Their heavy bodies sink into the mire, and although they struggle to get free, they are trapped.  Often it would take weeks to die, hungry, thirsty and unable to reach safety just a few yards away, but in this case there is enough water that the Mastodons mercifully die quickly. In fact, they die so quickly that the stomach contents of the large one are preserved.  Thousands of years later in 1871, their remains will be discovered still imprisoned in their mucky grave, and eventually be moved to a display at Jamestown High School.   

 

Until they became extinct 10,000 years ago, Mastodons roamed across all of North America, including Cattaraugus and Chautauqua Counties.  Distantly related to the African Elephant and the Woolly Mammoth, the Mastodon left extensive evidence of its life in this area.  In the Conewango Creek, numerous mastodon bones were found in the early 1900's.  In 1871 in Jamestown, several Mastodons were found in a sinkhole where many farm cattle have perished like the Mastodon. A Mastodon tooth was found in Jamestown in 1843, and in Westfield in 1902 several mastodon bones were discovered.  Countless other finds have been made throughout Western New York from the famous Hiscock dig in Byron to the North Java Mastodon, and finds in Attica, Perry, Pike, Sheridan, LeRoy, Medina, Holley, Batavia, Niagara Falls, Rochester, Geneseo etc. Also of interest is the Randolph Mammoth find, in which a fossilized set of Mammoth tusks were found in the Cattaraugus County town in 1934.                                        

While scientists agree that the Mastodon became extinct about 10,000 years ago, they don't agree on the reason why.   Some posit that over-hunting, or climate change decimated the herds.  Others argue that a tuberculosis infection was responsible.    

 Dr. John Collins Warren, who taught anatomy at Harvard University in the 1800's, was a great admirer of the Mastodon.  In fact, he spent the astronomical sum of $10,000 to purchase his own mastodon skeleton.  In his 1855 memoirs he wrote this glowing description of the Mastodon : 

"Language is insufficient to give an idea of the grandeur of this skeleton as a whole.  Standing as it does in the midst of those            of various large animals- the horse, the cow, others and towering above them, its massive limbs make them sink into insignificance. Even the elephant, although nearly as tall, has a frame which might be called delicate when compared with that of the mastodon."

 For Dr. Warren to be so impressed by the bones of a long-dead beast, imagine how impressive the live animal must have been to those humans who lived in the era of the Mastodon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 The year is 12,000 B.P., during the last ice age.  The place is the Conewango Creek on the Chautauqua- Cattaraugus County border.  The land is covered with a thick growth of spruce trees, with none of the deciduous trees we know today.  The air is cool and moist.  The polar ice caps are frozen, and the large glaciers in the northern tier of the continent  are slowly receding.  Along the creek, acres of swampy land is filled with swamp plants and coarse grasses.  A herd of shaggy, reddish-brown Mastodon moves slowly through the swampy area as they feed.  The herd includes a group of females that move the herd along their feeding grounds, and a number of youngsters.  Some of the adult Mastodons are pregnant, and won't probably deliver until  22 months of gestation.  The youngsters grow slowly until they reach maturity and can take their place in the order of the herd. Until then, the herd protects them from their natural predators, the American Scimitar Cat and the spear-hunting Paleo-Indians.  Like Elephants, the Mastodons are intelligent, and are affectionate with herd members.  In the spring and early summer, male Mastodons fight for the rights to the females.  They battle with their tusks until the enamel is damaged.

The four to six ton animals have long tusks on their upper jaw, but it is the short tusk on the lower jaw that works so well to strip bark from trees.  Their big molars munch up the pieces of bark, or spruce branches up to a half inch in diameter.  The smaller members of the herd chew low lying spruce branches or shrubs and the tough swamp plants.  Feeding 16 to 18 hours at a time, and eating up to 300 pounds of food in a day,  the Mastodons are destructive feeders.  They topple trees and ruin plants, so the herd must move continually to find new feeding grounds.  Hopefully, their travels will take them to a feeding place with a salt lick, a favorite treat for the herd and a good source of minerals.  

  As the Mastodons travel to the Conewango Creek, they pass a herd of Columbian Mammoths in what is now Randolph.  They do not stop to graze with their distant relatives, because the area is open and grassy.  Mammoths like to graze on grass and have the flat teeth to efficiently chew the grasses, but the Mastodons have pointed molars more suited to eating spruce branches.  One of the Mammoths they pass will die at these feeding grounds and his body will be discovered in 1934 when the new fish hatchery is built.

Before the Mastodon herd leaves the Conewango Creek area for new feeding grounds, they lose one member of their herd.  She is an elderly Mastodon who lies down next to the creek in the afternoon sun and never gets up again.  Her bones lie in the creek until the early 1900's when they are discovered.   

As the Mastodons continue on they find good feeding on a ridge of hills just north of present day Jamestown.  The hills separate the Chautauqua Valley from the Cassadaga Valley, and a fresh breeze blows across the ridge.  Trouble lurks for the unwary however. Two Mastodons, a large one about 10 to 15' tall with tusks of 10-12' and a small one about 7' tall with tusks 4' in length, carelessly walk into a marshy area. It may look like good place to feed, but it is a pit of mire.  Their heavy bodies sink into the mire, and although they struggle to get free, they are trapped.  Often it would take weeks to die, hungry, thirsty and unable to reach safety just a few yards away, but in this case there is enough water that the Mastodons mercifully die quickly. In fact, they die so quickly that the stomach contents of the large one are preserved.  Thousands of years later in 1871, their remains will be discovered still imprisoned in their mucky grave, and eventually be moved to a display at Jamestown High School.   

 

Until they became extinct 10,000 years ago, Mastodons roamed across all of North America, including Cattaraugus and Chautauqua Counties.  Distantly related to the African Elephant and the Woolly Mammoth, the Mastodon left extensive evidence of its life in this area.  In the Conewango Creek, numerous mastodon bones were found in the early 1900's.  In 1871 in Jamestown, several Mastodons were found in a sinkhole where many farm cattle have perished like the Mastodon. A Mastodon tooth was found in Jamestown in 1843, and in Westfield in 1902 several mastodon bones were discovered.  Countless other finds have been made throughout Western New York from the famous Hiscock dig in Byron to the North Java Mastodon, and finds in Attica, Perry, Pike, Sheridan, LeRoy, Medina, Holley, Batavia, Niagara Falls, Rochester, Geneseo etc. Also of interest is the Randolph Mammoth find, in which a fossilized set of Mammoth tusks were found in the Cattaraugus County town in 1934.                                        

While scientists agree that the Mastodon became extinct about 10,000 years ago, they don't agree on the reason why.   Some posit that over-hunting, or climate change decimated the herds.  Others argue that a tuberculosis infection was responsible.    

 Dr. John Collins Warren, who taught anatomy at Harvard University in the 1800's, was a great admirer of the Mastodon.  In fact, he spent the astronomical sum of $10,000 to purchase his own mastodon skeleton.  In his 1855 memoirs he wrote this glowing description of the Mastodon : 

"Language is insufficient to give an idea of the grandeur of this skeleton as a whole.  Standing as it does in the midst of those            of various large animals- the horse, the cow, others and towering above them, its massive limbs make them sink into insignificance. Even the elephant, although nearly as tall, has a frame which might be called delicate when compared with that of the mastodon."

 For Dr. Warren to be so impressed by the bones of a long-dead beast, imagine how impressive the live animal must have been to those humans who lived in the era of the Mastodon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 The year is 12,000 B.P., during the last ice age.  The place is the Conewango Creek on the Chautauqua- Cattaraugus County border.  The land is covered with a thick growth of spruce trees, with none of the deciduous trees we know today.  The air is cool and moist.  The polar ice caps are frozen, and the large glaciers in the northern tier of the continent  are slowly receding.  Along the creek, acres of swampy land is filled with swamp plants and coarse grasses.  A herd of shaggy, reddish-brown Mastodon moves slowly through the swampy area as they feed.  The herd includes a group of females that move the herd along their feeding grounds, and a number of youngsters.  Some of the adult Mastodons are pregnant, and won't probably deliver until  22 months of gestation.  The youngsters grow slowly until they reach maturity and can take their place in the order of the herd. Until then, the herd protects them from their natural predators, the American Scimitar Cat and the spear-hunting Paleo-Indians.  Like Elephants, the Mastodons are intelligent, and are affectionate with herd members.  In the spring and early summer, male Mastodons fight for the rights to the females.  They battle with their tusks until the enamel is damaged.

The four to six ton animals have long tusks on their upper jaw, but it is the short tusk on the lower jaw that works so well to strip bark from trees.  Their big molars munch up the pieces of bark, or spruce branches up to a half inch in diameter.  The smaller members of the herd chew low lying spruce branches or shrubs and the tough swamp plants.  Feeding 16 to 18 hours at a time, and eating up to 300 pounds of food in a day,  the Mastodons are destructive feeders.  They topple trees and ruin plants, so the herd must move continually to find new feeding grounds.  Hopefully, their travels will take them to a feeding place with a salt lick, a favorite treat for the herd and a good source of minerals.  

  As the Mastodons travel to the Conewango Creek, they pass a herd of Columbian Mammoths in what is now Randolph.  They do not stop to graze with their distant relatives, because the area is open and grassy.  Mammoths like to graze on grass and have the flat teeth to efficiently chew the grasses, but the Mastodons have pointed molars more suited to eating spruce branches.  One of the Mammoths they pass will die at these feeding grounds and his body will be discovered in 1934 when the new fish hatchery is built.

Before the Mastodon herd leaves the Conewango Creek area for new feeding grounds, they lose one member of their herd.  She is an elderly Mastodon who lies down next to the creek in the afternoon sun and never gets up again.  Her bones lie in the creek until the early 1900's when they are discovered.   

As the Mastodons continue on they find good feeding on a ridge of hills just north of present day Jamestown.  The hills separate the Chautauqua Valley from the Cassadaga Valley, and a fresh breeze blows across the ridge.  Trouble lurks for the unwary however. Two Mastodons, a large one about 10 to 15' tall with tusks of 10-12' and a small one about 7' tall with tusks 4' in length, carelessly walk into a marshy area. It may look like good place to feed, but it is a pit of mire.  Their heavy bodies sink into the mire, and although they struggle to get free, they are trapped.  Often it would take weeks to die, hungry, thirsty and unable to reach safety just a few yards away, but in this case there is enough water that the Mastodons mercifully die quickly. In fact, they die so quickly that the stomach contents of the large one are preserved.  Thousands of years later in 1871, their remains will be discovered still imprisoned in their mucky grave, and eventually be moved to a display at Jamestown High School.   

 

Until they became extinct 10,000 years ago, Mastodons roamed across all of North America, including Cattaraugus and Chautauqua Counties.  Distantly related to the African Elephant and the Woolly Mammoth, the Mastodon left extensive evidence of its life in this area.  In the Conewango Creek, numerous mastodon bones were found in the early 1900's.  In 1871 in Jamestown, several Mastodons were found in a sinkhole where many farm cattle have perished like the Mastodon. A Mastodon tooth was found in Jamestown in 1843, and in Westfield in 1902 several mastodon bones were discovered.  Countless other finds have been made throughout Western New York from the famous Hiscock dig in Byron to the North Java Mastodon, and finds in Attica, Perry, Pike, Sheridan, LeRoy, Medina, Holley, Batavia, Niagara Falls, Rochester, Geneseo etc. Also of interest is the Randolph Mammoth find, in which a fossilized set of Mammoth tusks were found in the Cattaraugus County town in 1934.                                        

While scientists agree that the Mastodon became extinct about 10,000 years ago, they don't agree on the reason why.   Some posit that over-hunting, or climate change decimated the herds.  Others argue that a tuberculosis infection was responsible.    

 Dr. John Collins Warren, who taught anatomy at Harvard University in the 1800's, was a great admirer of the Mastodon.  In fact, he spent the astronomical sum of $10,000 to purchase his own mastodon skeleton.  In his 1855 memoirs he wrote this glowing description of the Mastodon : 

"Language is insufficient to give an idea of the grandeur of this skeleton as a whole.  Standing as it does in the midst of those            of various large animals- the horse, the cow, others and towering above them, its massive limbs make them sink into insignificance. Even the elephant, although nearly as tall, has a frame which might be called delicate when compared with that of the mastodon."

 For Dr. Warren to be so impressed by the bones of a long-dead beast, imagine how impressive the live animal must have been to those humans who lived in the era of the Mastodon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 The year is 12,000 B.P., during the last ice age.  The place is the Conewango Creek on the Chautauqua- Cattaraugus County border.  The land is covered with a thick growth of spruce trees, with none of the deciduous trees we know today.  The air is cool and moist.  The polar ice caps are frozen, and the large glaciers in the northern tier of the continent  are slowly receding.  Along the creek, acres of swampy land is filled with swamp plants and coarse grasses.  A herd of shaggy, reddish-brown Mastodon moves slowly through the swampy area as they feed.  The herd includes a group of females that move the herd along their feeding grounds, and a number of youngsters.  Some of the adult Mastodons are pregnant, and won't probably deliver until  22 months of gestation.  The youngsters grow slowly until they reach maturity and can take their place in the order of the herd. Until then, the herd protects them from their natural predators, the American Scimitar Cat and the spear-hunting Paleo-Indians.  Like Elephants, the Mastodons are intelligent, and are affectionate with herd members.  In the spring and early summer, male Mastodons fight for the rights to the females.  They battle with their tusks until the enamel is damaged.

The four to six ton animals have long tusks on their upper jaw, but it is the short tusk on the lower jaw that works so well to strip bark from trees.  Their big molars munch up the pieces of bark, or spruce branches up to a half inch in diameter.  The smaller members of the herd chew low lying spruce branches or shrubs and the tough swamp plants.  Feeding 16 to 18 hours at a time, and eating up to 300 pounds of food in a day,  the Mastodons are destructive feeders.  They topple trees and ruin plants, so the herd must move continually to find new feeding grounds.  Hopefully, their travels will take them to a feeding place with a salt lick, a favorite treat for the herd and a good source of minerals.  

  As the Mastodons travel to the Conewango Creek, they pass a herd of Columbian Mammoths in what is now Randolph.  They do not stop to graze with their distant relatives, because the area is open and grassy.  Mammoths like to graze on grass and have the flat teeth to efficiently chew the grasses, but the Mastodons have pointed molars more suited to eating spruce branches.  One of the Mammoths they pass will die at these feeding grounds and his body will be discovered in 1934 when the new fish hatchery is built.

Before the Mastodon herd leaves the Conewango Creek area for new feeding grounds, they lose one member of their herd.  She is an elderly Mastodon who lies down next to the creek in the afternoon sun and never gets up again.  Her bones lie in the creek until the early 1900's when they are discovered.   

As the Mastodons continue on they find good feeding on a ridge of hills just north of present day Jamestown.  The hills separate the Chautauqua Valley from the Cassadaga Valley, and a fresh breeze blows across the ridge.  Trouble lurks for the unwary however. Two Mastodons, a large one about 10 to 15' tall with tusks of 10-12' and a small one about 7' tall with tusks 4' in length, carelessly walk into a marshy area. It may look like good place to feed, but it is a pit of mire.  Their heavy bodies sink into the mire, and although they struggle to get free, they are trapped.  Often it would take weeks to die, hungry, thirsty and unable to reach safety just a few yards away, but in this case there is enough water that the Mastodons mercifully die quickly. In fact, they die so quickly that the stomach contents of the large one are preserved.  Thousands of years later in 1871, their remains will be discovered still imprisoned in their mucky grave, and eventually be moved to a display at Jamestown High School.   

 

Until they became extinct 10,000 years ago, Mastodons roamed across all of North America, including Cattaraugus and Chautauqua Counties.  Distantly related to the African Elephant and the Woolly Mammoth, the Mastodon left extensive evidence of its life in this area.  In the Conewango Creek, numerous mastodon bones were found in the early 1900's.  In 1871 in Jamestown, several Mastodons were found in a sinkhole where many farm cattle have perished like the Mastodon. A Mastodon tooth was found in Jamestown in 1843, and in Westfield in 1902 several mastodon bones were discovered.  Countless other finds have been made throughout Western New York from the famous Hiscock dig in Byron to the North Java Mastodon, and finds in Attica, Perry, Pike, Sheridan, LeRoy, Medina, Holley, Batavia, Niagara Falls, Rochester, Geneseo etc. Also of interest is the Randolph Mammoth find, in which a fossilized set of Mammoth tusks were found in the Cattaraugus County town in 1934.                                        

While scientists agree that the Mastodon became extinct about 10,000 years ago, they don't agree on the reason why.   Some posit that over-hunting, or climate change decimated the herds.  Others argue that a tuberculosis infection was responsible.    

 Dr. John Collins Warren, who taught anatomy at Harvard University in the 1800's, was a great admirer of the Mastodon.  In fact, he spent the astronomical sum of $10,000 to purchase his own mastodon skeleton.  In his 1855 memoirs he wrote this glowing description of the Mastodon : 

"Language is insufficient to give an idea of the grandeur of this skeleton as a whole.  Standing as it does in the midst of those            of various large animals- the horse, the cow, others and towering above them, its massive limbs make them sink into insignificance. Even the elephant, although nearly as tall, has a frame which might be called delicate when compared with that of the mastodon."

 For Dr. Warren to be so impressed by the bones of a long-dead beast, imagine how impressive the live animal must have been to those humans who lived in the era of the Mastodon.

 

 

 

 

 The year is 12,000 B.P., during the last ice age.  The place is the Conewango Creek on the Chautauqua- Cattaraugus County border.  The land is covered with a thick growth of spruce trees, with none of the deciduous trees we know today.  The air is cool and moist.  The polar ice caps are frozen, and the large glaciers in the northern tier of the continent  are slowly receding.  Along the creek, acres of swampy land is filled with swamp plants and coarse grasses.  A herd of shaggy, reddish-brown Mastodon moves slowly through the swampy area as they feed.  The herd includes a group of females that move the herd along their feeding grounds, and a number of youngsters.  Some of the adult Mastodons are pregnant, and won't probably deliver until  22 months of gestation.  The youngsters grow slowly until they reach maturity and can take their place in the order of the herd. Until then, the herd protects them from their natural predators, the American Scimitar Cat and the spear-hunting Paleo-Indians.  Like Elephants, the Mastodons are intelligent, and are affectionate with herd members.  In the spring and early summer, male Mastodons fight for the rights to the females.  They battle with their tusks until the enamel is damaged.

The four to six ton animals have long tusks on their upper jaw, but it is the short tusk on the lower jaw that works so well to strip bark from trees.  Their big molars munch up the pieces of bark, or spruce branches up to a half inch in diameter.  The smaller members of the herd chew low lying spruce branches or shrubs and the tough swamp plants.  Feeding 16 to 18 hours at a time, and eating up to 300 pounds of food in a day,  the Mastodons are destructive feeders.  They topple trees and ruin plants, so the herd must move continually to find new feeding grounds.  Hopefully, their travels will take them to a feeding place with a salt lick, a favorite treat for the herd and a good source of minerals.  

  As the Mastodons travel to the Conewango Creek, they pass a herd of Columbian Mammoths in what is now Randolph.  They do not stop to graze with their distant relatives, because the area is open and grassy.  Mammoths like to graze on grass and have the flat teeth to efficiently chew the grasses, but the Mastodons have pointed molars more suited to eating spruce branches.  One of the Mammoths they pass will die at these feeding grounds and his body will be discovered in 1934 when the new fish hatchery is built.

Before the Mastodon herd leaves the Conewango Creek area for new feeding grounds, they lose one member of their herd.  She is an elderly Mastodon who lies down next to the creek in the afternoon sun and never gets up again.  Her bones lie in the creek until the early 1900's when they are discovered.   

As the Mastodons continue on they find good feeding on a ridge of hills just north of present day Jamestown.  The hills separate the Chautauqua Valley from the Cassadaga Valley, and a fresh breeze blows across the ridge.  Trouble lurks for the unwary however. Two Mastodons, a large one about 10 to 15' tall with tusks of 10-12' and a small one about 7' tall with tusks 4' in length, carelessly walk into a marshy area. It may look like good place to feed, but it is a pit of mire.  Their heavy bodies sink into the mire, and although they struggle to get free, they are trapped.  Often it would take weeks to die, hungry, thirsty and unable to reach safety just a few yards away, but in this case there is enough water that the Mastodons mercifully die quickly. In fact, they die so quickly that the stomach contents of the large one are preserved.  Thousands of years later in 1871, their remains will be discovered still imprisoned in their mucky grave, and eventually be moved to a display at Jamestown High School.   

 

Until they became extinct 10,000 years ago, Mastodons roamed across all of North America, including Cattaraugus and Chautauqua Counties.  Distantly related to the African Elephant and the Woolly Mammoth, the Mastodon left extensive evidence of its life in this area.  In the Conewango Creek, numerous mastodon bones were found in the early 1900's.  In 1871 in Jamestown, several Mastodons were found in a sinkhole where many farm cattle have perished like the Mastodon. A Mastodon tooth was found in Jamestown in 1843, and in Westfield in 1902 several mastodon bones were discovered.  Countless other finds have been made throughout Western New York from the famous Hiscock dig in Byron to the North Java Mastodon, and finds in Attica, Perry, Pike, Sheridan, LeRoy, Medina, Holley, Batavia, Niagara Falls, Rochester, Geneseo etc. Also of interest is the Randolph Mammoth find, in which a fossilized set of Mammoth tusks were found in the Cattaraugus County town in 1934.                                        

While scientists agree that the Mastodon became extinct about 10,000 years ago, they don't agree on the reason why.   Some posit that over-hunting, or climate change decimated the herds.  Others argue that a tuberculosis infection was responsible.    

 Dr. John Collins Warren, who taught anatomy at Harvard University in the 1800's, was a great admirer of the Mastodon.  In fact, he spent the astronomical sum of $10,000 to purchase his own mastodon skeleton.  In his 1855 memoirs he wrote this glowing description of the Mastodon : 

"Language is insufficient to give an idea of the grandeur of this skeleton as a whole.  Standing as it does in the midst of those            of various large animals- the horse, the cow, others and towering above them, its massive limbs make them sink into insignificance. Even the elephant, although nearly as tall, has a frame which might be called delicate when compared with that of the mastodon."

 For Dr. Warren to be so impressed by the bones of a long-dead beast, imagine how impressive the live animal must have been to those humans who lived in the era of the Mastodon.

 

 

 The year is 12,000 B.P., during the last ice age.  The place is the Conewango Creek on the Chautauqua- Cattaraugus County border.  The land is covered with a thick growth of spruce trees, with none of the deciduous trees we know today.  The air is cool and moist.  The polar ice caps are frozen, and the large glaciers in the northern tier of the continent  are slowly receding.  Along the creek, acres of swampy land is filled with swamp plants and coarse grasses.  A herd of shaggy, reddish-brown Mastodon moves slowly through the swampy area as they feed.  The herd includes a group of females that move the herd along their feeding grounds, and a number of youngsters.  Some of the adult Mastodons are pregnant, and won't probably deliver until  22 months of gestation.  The youngsters grow slowly until they reach maturity and can take their place in the order of the herd. Until then, the herd protects them from their natural predators, the American Scimitar Cat and the spear-hunting Paleo-Indians.  Like Elephants, the Mastodons are intelligent, and are affectionate with herd members.  In the spring and early summer, male Mastodons fight for the rights to the females.  They battle with their tusks until the enamel is damaged.

The four to six ton animals have long tusks on their upper jaw, but it is the short tusk on the lower jaw that works so well to strip bark from trees.  Their big molars munch up the pieces of bark, or spruce branches up to a half inch in diameter.  The smaller members of the herd chew low lying spruce branches or shrubs and the tough swamp plants.  Feeding 16 to 18 hours at a time, and eating up to 300 pounds of food in a day,  the Mastodons are destructive feeders.  They topple trees and ruin plants, so the herd must move continually to find new feeding grounds.  Hopefully, their travels will take them to a feeding place with a salt lick, a favorite treat for the herd and a good source of minerals.  

  As the Mastodons travel to the Conewango Creek, they pass a herd of Columbian Mammoths in what is now Randolph.  They do not stop to graze with their distant relatives, because the area is open and grassy.  Mammoths like to graze on grass and have the flat teeth to efficiently chew the grasses, but the Mastodons have pointed molars more suited to eating spruce branches.  One of the Mammoths they pass will die at these feeding grounds and his body will be discovered in 1934 when the new fish hatchery is built.

Before the Mastodon herd leaves the Conewango Creek area for new feeding grounds, they lose one member of their herd.  She is an elderly Mastodon who lies down next to the creek in the afternoon sun and never gets up again.  Her bones lie in the creek until the early 1900's when they are discovered.   

As the Mastodons continue on they find good feeding on a ridge of hills just north of present day Jamestown.  The hills separate the Chautauqua Valley from the Cassadaga Valley, and a fresh breeze blows across the ridge.  Trouble lurks for the unwary however. Two Mastodons, a large one about 10 to 15' tall with tusks of 10-12' and a small one about 7' tall with tusks 4' in length, carelessly walk into a marshy area. It may look like good place to feed, but it is a pit of mire.  Their heavy bodies sink into the mire, and although they struggle to get free, they are trapped.  Often it would take weeks to die, hungry, thirsty and unable to reach safety just a few yards away, but in this case there is enough water that the Mastodons mercifully die quickly. In fact, they die so quickly that the stomach contents of the large one are preserved.  Thousands of years later in 1871, their remains will be discovered still imprisoned in their mucky grave, and eventually be moved to a display at Jamestown High School.   

 

Until they became extinct 10,000 years ago, Mastodons roamed across all of North America, including Cattaraugus and Chautauqua Counties.  Distantly related to the African Elephant and the Woolly Mammoth, the Mastodon left extensive evidence of its life in this area.  In the Conewango Creek, numerous mastodon bones were found in the early 1900's.  In 1871 in Jamestown, several Mastodons were found in a sinkhole where many farm cattle have perished like the Mastodon. A Mastodon tooth was found in Jamestown in 1843, and in Westfield in 1902 several mastodon bones were discovered.  Countless other finds have been made throughout Western New York from the famous Hiscock dig in Byron to the North Java Mastodon, and finds in Attica, Perry, Pike, Sheridan, LeRoy, Medina, Holley, Batavia, Niagara Falls, Rochester, Geneseo etc. Also of interest is the Randolph Mammoth find, in which a fossilized set of Mammoth tusks were found in the Cattaraugus County town in 1934.                                        

While scientists agree that the Mastodon became extinct about 10,000 years ago, they don't agree on the reason why.   Some posit that over-hunting, or climate change decimated the herds.  Others argue that a tuberculosis infection was responsible.    

 Dr. John Collins Warren, who taught anatomy at Harvard University in the 1800's, was a great admirer of the Mastodon.  In fact, he spent the astronomical sum of $10,000 to purchase his own mastodon skeleton.  In his 1855 memoirs he wrote this glowing description of the Mastodon : 

"Language is insufficient to give an idea of the grandeur of this skeleton as a whole.  Standing as it does in the midst of those            of various large animals- the horse, the cow, others and towering above them, its massive limbs make them sink into insignificance. Even the elephant, although nearly as tall, has a frame which might be called delicate when compared with that of the mastodon."

 For Dr. Warren to be so impressed by the bones of a long-dead beast, imagine how impressive the live animal must have been to those humans who lived in the era of the Mastodon.

 

 

McClurg Museum Collection, Westfield, New York

Locations of Mastodon and Mammoth Finds

Skeleton of Mastodon, NY State Museum, Albany

Mastodon at New York State Museum, Albany

 

 

 

 

 The year is 12,000 B.P., during the last ice age.  The place is the Conewango Creek on the Chautauqua- Cattaraugus County border.  The land is covered with a thick growth of spruce trees, with none of the deciduous trees we know today.  The air is cool and moist.  The polar ice caps are frozen, and the large glaciers in the northern tier of the continent  are slowly receding.  Along the creek, acres of swampy land is filled with swamp plants and coarse grasses.  A herd of shaggy, reddish-brown Mastodon moves slowly through the swampy area as they feed.  The herd includes a group of females that move the herd along their feeding grounds, and a number of youngsters.  Some of the adult Mastodons are pregnant, and won't probably deliver until  22 months of gestation.  The youngsters grow slowly until they reach maturity and can take their place in the order of the herd. Until then, the herd protects them from their natural predators, the American Scimitar Cat and the spear-hunting Paleo-Indians.  Like Elephants, the Mastodons are intelligent, and are affectionate with herd members.  In the spring and early summer, male Mastodons fight for the rights to the females.  They battle with their tusks until the enamel is damaged.

The four to six ton animals have long tusks on their upper jaw, but it is the short tusk on the lower jaw that works so well to strip bark from trees.  Their big molars munch up the pieces of bark, or spruce branches up to a half inch in diameter.  The smaller members of the herd chew low lying spruce branches or shrubs and the tough swamp plants.  Feeding 16 to 18 hours at a time, and eating up to 300 pounds of food in a day,  the Mastodons are destructive feeders.  They topple trees and ruin plants, so the herd must move continually to find new feeding grounds.  Hopefully, their travels will take them to a feeding place with a salt lick, a favorite treat for the herd and a good source of minerals.  

  As the Mastodons travel to the Conewango Creek, they pass a herd of Columbian Mammoths in what is now Randolph.  They do not stop to graze with their distant relatives, because the area is open and grassy.  Mammoths like to graze on grass and have the flat teeth to efficiently chew the grasses, but the Mastodons have pointed molars more suited to eating spruce branches.  One of the Mammoths they pass will die at these feeding grounds and his body will be discovered in 1934 when the new fish hatchery is built.

Before the Mastodon herd leaves the Conewango Creek area for new feeding grounds, they lose one member of their herd.  She is an elderly Mastodon who lies down next to the creek in the afternoon sun and never gets up again.  Her bones lie in the creek until the early 1900's when they are discovered.   

As the Mastodons continue on they find good feeding on a ridge of hills just north of present day Jamestown.  The hills separate the Chautauqua Valley from the Cassadaga Valley, and a fresh breeze blows across the ridge.  Trouble lurks for the unwary however. Two Mastodons, a large one about 10 to 15' tall with tusks of 10-12' and a small one about 7' tall with tusks 4' in length, carelessly walk into a marshy area. It may look like good place to feed, but it is a pit of mire.  Their heavy bodies sink into the mire, and although they struggle to get free, they are trapped.  Often it would take weeks to die, hungry, thirsty and unable to reach safety just a few yards away, but in this case there is enough water that the Mastodons mercifully die quickly. In fact, they die so quickly that the stomach contents of the large one are preserved.  Thousands of years later in 1871, their remains will be discovered still imprisoned in their mucky grave, and eventually be moved to a display at Jamestown High School.   

 

Until they became extinct 10,000 years ago, Mastodons roamed across all of North America, including Cattaraugus and Chautauqua Counties.  Distantly related to the African Elephant and the Woolly Mammoth, the Mastodon left extensive evidence of its life in this area.  In the Conewango Creek, numerous mastodon bones were found in the early 1900's.  In 1871 in Jamestown, several Mastodons were found in a sinkhole where many farm cattle have perished like the Mastodon. A Mastodon tooth was found in Jamestown in 1843, and in Westfield in 1902 several mastodon bones were discovered.  Countless other finds have been made throughout Western New York from the famous Hiscock dig in Byron to the North Java Mastodon, and finds in Attica, Perry, Pike, Sheridan, LeRoy, Medina, Holley, Batavia, Niagara Falls, Rochester, Geneseo etc. Also of interest is the Randolph Mammoth find, in which a fossilized set of Mammoth tusks were found in the Cattaraugus County town in 1934.                                        

While scientists agree that the Mastodon became extinct about 10,000 years ago, they don't agree on the reason why.   Some posit that over-hunting, or climate change decimated the herds.  Others argue that a tuberculosis infection was responsible.    

 Dr. John Collins Warren, who taught anatomy at Harvard University in the 1800's, was a great admirer of the Mastodon.  In fact, he spent the astronomical sum of $10,000 to purchase his own mastodon skeleton.  In his 1855 memoirs he wrote this glowing description of the Mastodon : 

"Language is insufficient to give an idea of the grandeur of this skeleton as a whole.  Standing as it does in the midst of those            of various large animals- the horse, the cow, others and towering above them, its massive limbs make them sink into insignificance. Even the elephant, although nearly as tall, has a frame which might be called delicate when compared with that of the mastodon."

 For Dr. Warren to be so impressed by the bones of a long-dead beast, imagine how impressive the live animal must have been to those humans who lived in the era of the Mastodon.

 

 

 The year is 12,000 B.P., during the last ice age.  The place is the Conewango Creek on the Chautauqua- Cattaraugus County border.  The land is covered with a thick growth of spruce trees, with none of the deciduous trees we know today.  The air is cool and moist.  The polar ice caps are frozen, and the large glaciers in the northern tier of the continent  are slowly receding.  Along the creek, acres of swampy land is filled with swamp plants and coarse grasses.  A herd of shaggy, reddish-brown Mastodon moves slowly through the swampy area as they feed.  The herd includes a group of females that move the herd along their feeding grounds, and a number of youngsters.  Some of the adult Mastodons are pregnant, and won't probably deliver until  22 months of gestation.  The youngsters grow slowly until they reach maturity and can take their place in the order of the herd. Until then, the herd protects them from their natural predators, the American Scimitar Cat and the spear-hunting Paleo-Indians.  Like Elephants, the Mastodons are intelligent, and are affectionate with herd members.  In the spring and early summer, male Mastodons fight for the rights to the females.  They battle with their tusks until the enamel is damaged.

The four to six ton animals have long tusks on their upper jaw, but it is the short tusk on the lower jaw that works so well to strip bark from trees.  Their big molars munch up the pieces of bark, or spruce branches up to a half inch in diameter.  The smaller members of the herd chew low lying spruce branches or shrubs and the tough swamp plants.  Feeding 16 to 18 hours at a time, and eating up to 300 pounds of food in a day,  the Mastodons are destructive feeders.  They topple trees and ruin plants, so the herd must move continually to find new feeding grounds.  Hopefully, their travels will take them to a feeding place with a salt lick, a favorite treat for the herd and a good source of minerals.  

  As the Mastodons travel to the Conewango Creek, they pass a herd of Columbian Mammoths in what is now Randolph.  They do not stop to graze with their distant relatives, because the area is open and grassy.  Mammoths like to graze on grass and have the flat teeth to efficiently chew the grasses, but the Mastodons have pointed molars more suited to eating spruce branches.  One of the Mammoths they pass will die at these feeding grounds and his body will be discovered in 1934 when the new fish hatchery is built.

Before the Mastodon herd leaves the Conewango Creek area for new feeding grounds, they lose one member of their herd.  She is an elderly Mastodon who lies down next to the creek in the afternoon sun and never gets up again.  Her bones lie in the creek until the early 1900's when they are discovered.   

As the Mastodons continue on they find good feeding on a ridge of hills just north of present day Jamestown.  The hills separate the Chautauqua Valley from the Cassadaga Valley, and a fresh breeze blows across the ridge.  Trouble lurks for the unwary however. Two Mastodons, a large one about 10 to 15' tall with tusks of 10-12' and a small one about 7' tall with tusks 4' in length, carelessly walk into a marshy area. It may look like good place to feed, but it is a pit of mire.  Their heavy bodies sink into the mire, and although they struggle to get free, they are trapped.  Often it would take weeks to die, hungry, thirsty and unable to reach safety just a few yards away, but in this case there is enough water that the Mastodons mercifully die quickly. In fact, they die so quickly that the stomach contents of the large one are preserved.  Thousands of years later in 1871, their remains will be discovered still imprisoned in their mucky grave, and eventually be moved to a display at Jamestown High School.   

 

Until they became extinct 10,000 years ago, Mastodons roamed across all of North America, including Cattaraugus and Chautauqua Counties.  Distantly related to the African Elephant and the Woolly Mammoth, the Mastodon left extensive evidence of its life in this area.  In the Conewango Creek, numerous mastodon bones were found in the early 1900's.  In 1871 in Jamestown, several Mastodons were found in a sinkhole where many farm cattle have perished like the Mastodon. A Mastodon tooth was found in Jamestown in 1843, and in Westfield in 1902 several mastodon bones were discovered.  Countless other finds have been made throughout Western New York from the famous Hiscock dig in Byron to the North Java Mastodon, and finds in Attica, Perry, Pike, Sheridan, LeRoy, Medina, Holley, Batavia, Niagara Falls, Rochester, Geneseo etc. Also of interest is the Randolph Mammoth find, in which a fossilized set of Mammoth tusks were found in the Cattaraugus County town in 1934.                                        

While scientists agree that the Mastodon became extinct about 10,000 years ago, they don't agree on the reason why.   Some posit that over-hunting, or climate change decimated the herds.  Others argue that a tuberculosis infection was responsible.    

 Dr. John Collins Warren, who taught anatomy at Harvard University in the 1800's, was a great admirer of the Mastodon.  In fact, he spent the astronomical sum of $10,000 to purchase his own mastodon skeleton.  In his 1855 memoirs he wrote this glowing description of the Mastodon : 

"Language is insufficient to give an idea of the grandeur of this skeleton as a whole.  Standing as it does in the midst of those            of various large animals- the horse, the cow, others and towering above them, its massive limbs make them sink into insignificance. Even the elephant, although nearly as tall, has a frame which might be called delicate when compared with that of the mastodon."

 For Dr. Warren to be so impressed by the bones of a long-dead beast, imagine how impressive the live animal must have been to those humans who lived in the era of the Mastodon.

 

 

 The year is 12,000 B.P., during the last ice age.  The place is the Conewango Creek on the Chautauqua- Cattaraugus County border.  The land is covered with a thick growth of spruce trees, with none of the deciduous trees we know today.  The air is cool and moist.  The polar ice caps are frozen, and the large glaciers in the northern tier of the continent  are slowly receding.  Along the creek, acres of swampy land is filled with swamp plants and coarse grasses.  A herd of shaggy, reddish-brown Mastodon moves slowly through the swampy area as they feed.  The herd includes a group of females that move the herd along their feeding grounds, and a number of youngsters.  Some of the adult Mastodons are pregnant, and won't probably deliver until  22 months of gestation.  The youngsters grow slowly until they reach maturity and can take their place in the order of the herd. Until then, the herd protects them from their natural predators, the American Scimitar Cat and the spear-hunting Paleo-Indians.  Like Elephants, the Mastodons are intelligent, and are affectionate with herd members.  In the spring and early summer, male Mastodons fight for the rights to the females.  They battle with their tusks until the enamel is damaged.

The four to six ton animals have long tusks on their upper jaw, but it is the short tusk on the lower jaw that works so well to strip bark from trees.  Their big molars munch up the pieces of bark, or spruce branches up to a half inch in diameter.  The smaller members of the herd chew low lying spruce branches or shrubs and the tough swamp plants.  Feeding 16 to 18 hours at a time, and eating up to 300 pounds of food in a day,  the Mastodons are destructive feeders.  They topple trees and ruin plants, so the herd must move continually to find new feeding grounds.  Hopefully, their travels will take them to a feeding place with a salt lick, a favorite treat for the herd and a good source of minerals.  

  As the Mastodons travel to the Conewango Creek, they pass a herd of Columbian Mammoths in what is now Randolph.  They do not stop to graze with their distant relatives, because the area is open and grassy.  Mammoths like to graze on grass and have the flat teeth to efficiently chew the grasses, but the Mastodons have pointed molars more suited to eating spruce branches.  One of the Mammoths they pass will die at these feeding grounds and his body will be discovered in 1934 when the new fish hatchery is built.

Before the Mastodon herd leaves the Conewango Creek area for new feeding grounds, they lose one member of their herd.  She is an elderly Mastodon who lies down next to the creek in the afternoon sun and never gets up again.  Her bones lie in the creek until the early 1900's when they are discovered.   

As the Mastodons continue on they find good feeding on a ridge of hills just north of present day Jamestown.  The hills separate the Chautauqua Valley from the Cassadaga Valley, and a fresh breeze blows across the ridge.  Trouble lurks for the unwary however. Two Mastodons, a large one about 10 to 15' tall with tusks of 10-12' and a small one about 7' tall with tusks 4' in length, carelessly walk into a marshy area. It may look like good place to feed, but it is a pit of mire.  Their heavy bodies sink into the mire, and although they struggle to get free, they are trapped.  Often it would take weeks to die, hungry, thirsty and unable to reach safety just a few yards away, but in this case there is enough water that the Mastodons mercifully die quickly. In fact, they die so quickly that the stomach contents of the large one are preserved.  Thousands of years later in 1871, their remains will be discovered still imprisoned in their mucky grave, and eventually be moved to a display at Jamestown High School.   

 

Until they became extinct 10,000 years ago, Mastodons roamed across all of North America, including Cattaraugus and Chautauqua Counties.  Distantly related to the African Elephant and the Woolly Mammoth, the Mastodon left extensive evidence of its life in this area.  In the Conewango Creek, numerous mastodon bones were found in the early 1900's.  In 1871 in Jamestown, several Mastodons were found in a sinkhole where many farm cattle have perished like the Mastodon. A Mastodon tooth was found in Jamestown in 1843, and in Westfield in 1902 several mastodon bones were discovered.  Countless other finds have been made throughout Western New York from the famous Hiscock dig in Byron to the North Java Mastodon, and finds in Attica, Perry, Pike, Sheridan, LeRoy, Medina, Holley, Batavia, Niagara Falls, Rochester, Geneseo etc. Also of interest is the Randolph Mammoth find, in which a fossilized set of Mammoth tusks were found in the Cattaraugus County town in 1934.                                        

While scientists agree that the Mastodon became extinct about 10,000 years ago, they don't agree on the reason why.   Some posit that over-hunting, or climate change decimated the herds.  Others argue that a tuberculosis infection was responsible.    

 Dr. John Collins Warren, who taught anatomy at Harvard University in the 1800's, was a great admirer of the Mastodon.  In fact, he spent the astronomical sum of $10,000 to purchase his own mastodon skeleton.  In his 1855 memoirs he wrote this glowing description of the Mastodon : 

"Language is insufficient to give an idea of the grandeur of this skeleton as a whole.  Standing as it does in the midst of those            of various large animals- the horse, the cow, others and towering above them, its massive limbs make them sink into insignificance. Even the elephant, although nearly as tall, has a frame which might be called delicate when compared with that of the mastodon."

 For Dr. Warren to be so impressed by the bones of a long-dead beast, imagine how impressive the live animal must have been to those humans who lived in the era of the Mastodon.

 

 

Museum, Letchworth State Park

Museum, Letchworth State Park

Assembling a Skeleton

Assembling a Skeleton