Big M: The Mammoth of Moorpark

 

In this book, Curt Abdouch tells the story of the fascinating discovery of a southern mammoth, Mammuthus meridionalis, a species far older (and larger) than the more recent and common mammoths that also lived in North America. Southern mammoths were the first to enter North America from Asia over a million years ago. Big M was found by a contractor working to build a 265 home community known as Meridian Hills, just north of Moorpark, California. While grading the 325 acre site, an earth mover uncovered some bones. A quick inspection verified that this was something rare and unusual. After recovering more than 75 percent of the skeleton, and carrying out detailed tests and inspection, it was determined that Big M was a female, about 50 to 55 years old, 12 feet tall at the shoulder, and weighed 5 tons or more. Her feet were as big as car tires, her tusks 9 feet long with as much ivory as two large elephants. Read on to learn how Big M likely died in a sudden storm. She was not alone: other skeletons found with her gave important clues about when she roamed Southern California.

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