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Science Wednesdays: Ice Age Death Trap

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 10:42am -- WCVE

In the Rocky Mountains, archeologists uncover a unique fossil site packed with astonishingly well-preserved bones of mammoths, mastodons, and other giant extinct beasts. The discovery opens a highly focused window on the vanished world of the Ice Age in North America.

One hundred thousand years ago, on planet Earth, huge sheets of ice surge and retreat. Now, a stunning find in an ancient lake promises a glimpse into this exotic Ice Age realm and at the fantastic creatures that ruled the land: ancient elephants like mammoths and mastodons; giant bison; sloths and camels.

But there is a mystery about this find. Entire families of these mighty beasts came down to this ancient lake to graze. And their bones reveal tantalizing clues that, very suddenly, something may have wiped them out. What were these animals doing here? And what is it about this lake that killed them? For these bone detectives, it’s a dream site that comes with a twist: a dam is planned here, giving them just 50 days to dig out the fossil clues.

Watch NOVA: Ice Age Death Trap January 16 at 9:00 p.m. on WCVE PBS / WHTJ PBS