Will the New Mammoth Bones Bring Paleo-Tourism Through Denver?

October 27 2010, 10:30 AM

As the Snowmass Sun writes, the recent discovery of mammoth bones unearthed during construction for the enlargement of the Ziegler Reservoir, west of downtown Snowmass, has lead to a small outbreak of mammoth fever that might well spark "paleo-tourism" in the region. Perhaps Denver will attract some of that interest, as well.

The Denver Museum of Nature & Science will take control of the site of the mammoth bones, reports The Aspen Times, which notes that the Snowmass Village Water and Sanitation District board of directors voted unanimously to draft an agreement so the museum can remove the bones. The agreement asks the museum to provide the town with a cast replica of the mammoth's bones and those of a 13-foot predatory fish known as an xiphactinus, which was discovered near Snowmass in 1967 and is now housed by the museum. The agreement would also give the sanitation district the right to take the real bones back if the museum ever decides it can't keep them.

It's not clear if the mammoth is of the wooly or the Columbian variety, but the skeleton is quite a find, says Ian Miller, chair of the earth sciences department and curator of paleontology at the museum. "It is the most complete intact skeleton from high elevation," he tells 7News. "It is very well preserved."