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Nathaniel Kitchel - Featured Speaker

Updated: Mar 25, 2021

Mammoths to the Left - Mammoths to the Right

Everybody loves Mammoths. Certainly everyone wants to date one. Well, Nathaniel Kitchel, a longtime NH SCRAP volunteer, PhD out of the University of Wyoming, and Postdoc at Dartmouth College has actually done it. While rummaging around the collections of the Hood Museum Nathaniel happened upon a rib fragment labeled as being from Mt. Holly, Vermont. He knew of the find having recently given a talk in Mt. Holly and he immediately knew he had something special in hand. The mammoth was discovered in 1848 during railroad construction and has been well known since that time. In fact the Woolly Mammoth is the Vermont State Terrestrial Fossil based on that find. Armed with this knowledge Nathaniel and Dartmouth College colleague Jeremy Desilva submitted a sample from the rib for radiocarbon dating. The age of the specimen places it at about the time the first people entered the Northeast and the findings have just been published in the journal Boreas.

The Mt. Holly Mammoth is not the only such fossil find in the neighborhood. A partial mammoth skeleton was found in 1959 on the Saco River in Scarborough, Maine. All that remains now is for New Hampshire to have it’s own fossil mammoth. So, if you have a mammoth tusk or even a femur found in New Hampshire, please let us know.

PS A mastodon will do.

Below is the abstract of the article and the weblink along with some recent articles in the media for your enjoyment.

ABSTRACT Proboscidean remains have been documented in New England for well over a century, yet few radiocarbon dates exist for these animals in the region. Here, we report the first AMS radiocarbon date and stable carbon:nitrogen isotope analysis for the Mount Holly mammoth, Mount Holly, Vermont. Among proboscidean finds in New England the date of 10 860±30 (12 882–12 792 cal. BP) from the Mount Holly mammoth is the most recent radiocarbon date for a mammoth or mastodon in New England and the most precisely dated specimen possibly post‐dating the accepted age of the initial human settlement of the region during the onset of the Younger Dryas. Stable nitrogen isotope values are low for mammoths both regionally and globally, but consistent with a pattern of falling δ15N values for mammoths following the Last Glacial Maximum with particularly low values during the Younger Dryas.

Articles in the press:

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