State Symbols USA home page

Google

  SITEMAP  

  QUIZ  

Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming
USA (national)

Washington State Fossil:

Woolly mammoth sculpture - click to see all state fossils
Woolly mammoth sculpture at La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles, CA -
photo by TimmyGUNZ on Flickr (noncommercial use permitted
with attribution / no derivative works). See All state Fossils & Dinosaurs.

Columbian Mammoth

See mammoth video below

Washington designated the Columbian Mammoth as the official state fossil in 1998 after a four-year effort by students from Windsor Elementary School. These extinct prehistoric woolly elephants (Mammuthus columbi) roamed the North American continent during the Pleistocene age (last ice age). Most mammoths were larger than modern elephants. Their diet consisted primarily of grasses, sedges, and rushes.

Mammoths became extinct 10,000 years ago, but fossilized remains of the Columbian mammoth were found on the Olympic Peninsula. Mammoths stem from an ancestral species of north African mammoth (M. africanavus) that disappeared about 3 or 4 million years ago. Descendants of these mammoths moved north and eventually covered most of Eurasia (these were M. meridionalis, the “southern mammoths").

Woolly mammoth fossil skeleton - click to see all state fossils
Mammoth skeleton photo by John Kannenberg on Flickr - noncommercial use permitted with attribution / no derivative works. See All State Fossils.

About 1.8 million years ago, in the early Pleistocene, M. meridionalis was able to cross into North America across a temporary land bridge in the Bering Strait caused by low sea levels during an Ice Age. The southern mammoth then radiated throughout North America.

In the Middle Pleistocene, a new North American species evolved - the imperial mammoth (M. imperator). The Columbian mammoth (M. columbi ,also known as the Jefferson mammoth, M. jeffersoni) appeared in the late Pleistocene. Its range covered the present United States and as far south as Nicaragua and Honduras.

Meantime another species of mammoth had developed in Eurasia - the steppe mammoth (M. trogontherii), which lived from 200,000 to 135,000 years ago. Later in the Pleistocene, the woolly mammoth (M. primigenius), made its appearance (woolly mammoths were the smallest of the mammoths, except for dwarf forms of mammoth that are known from fossils found on islands).

Another Ice Age lasting from 35,000 to 18,000 years ago again caused low sea levels , and woolly mammoths were able to enter North America over a new land corridor across the Bering Strait. Woolly mammoths ranged as far south as present-day Kansas.

Source:
State Symbols: Washington State Legislature
About Mammoths: U of CA Museum of Paleontolgy
Links:
Facts About The Woolly Mammoth: Utah Cent. Studies
All state Fossils & Dinosaurs


    

 

Washington Symbols & Icons

bird - mammal
insect - fish
amphibian
flower - grass
tree - soil
fossil - gem
fruit - vegetable

flag - seal
motto - quarter
name - nickname
dance - tartan
song - folk song
arboretum
ship 1 - 2
 

Share |

Woolly Mammoth - Carnegie Collection
Woolly Mammoth - Carnegie Collection

Google

What are your State Symbols?
State Symbols USA is a nonprofit organization promoting the conservation
and appreciation of our natural treasures and cultural heritage.