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A Mammoth Find (Literally) In Channel Islands

(National Park Service photo)
Researchers uncover mammoth skull on Santa Rosa Island, in Channel Islands National Park

Researchers say they’ve literally made a mammoth find in the Channel Islands.

A team of scientists unearthed a mammoth skull on Santa Rosa Island. Charcoal dating of samples found in the areas indicates the specimen dates back around 13,000 years. That puts it in the same range as the remains of Arlington Man, the oldest skeletal remains found in North America. Those remains were also found on Santa Rosa Island.

Researchers say the skull raises a lot of questions, because researchers aren’t sure if it’s from a pygmy mammoth, or a young Columbian mammoth.  Mammoths were common on the North American continent some two million years ago.

The specimen was first discovered by a U.S. Park Service biologist in 2014, who saw a tusk in a canyon wall. The researchers say this week’s dig has revealed one of the best preserved mammoth skulls ever discovered.

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral.