Denver museum seeks votes on mammoth's name

December 16, 2010

The Denver Museum of Nature & Science wants public’s help to name the first mammoth discovered at the Ice Age fossil site near Snowmass Village.

Starting today, visitors to the Museum’s website can pick one name from a list of five, each with a tie to the mammoth fossil find. Ballots can also be cast in person at the museum starting Monday Dec. 20, on the bridge outside the IMAX 3D Theater on Level 2.

To cast a vote, visit\snowmastodon-project, or visit the Museum. The naming contest runs through Jan. 14. The winning name will be announced Jan. 18.  Here are the choices:

Jessie - named for bulldozer operator Jesse Steele, who uncovered the first bones while working in Ziegler Reservoir on Oct. 14

• Ella - the three-year-old daughter of construction superintendent, Kent Olson, who took the bones home to try to identify them and realized they’d discovered something big

• Ziggy - for the Ziegler family, who owned the land where the reservoir was built and the Ice Age site was discovered

• Samammoth - for Museum educator Samantha Sands, who presented mammoth programs to 8,500 schoolchildren in five days in the Roaring Fork Valley

• Snowy - for Snowmass Village, home of the Ice Age site

The naming contest runs through Jan. 14. The winning name will be announced Jan. 18.

The museum has a number of ways to learn more about the Snowmass Village Ice Age discoveries:
- Visitors can touch real tusk fragments from Snowmass Village at the Mammoth Cart outside the IMAX 3D Theater on Level 2. The cart also features peat samples that the Snowmass Village fossils were buried in, and photos and video from the November excavation. Visitors can also touch models of mammoth and mastodon teeth.

- The live Earth Today show on the Galaxy Stage in Space Odyssey is devoted to the Snowmass Village Ice Age fossil discoveries.

- Visitors can also peer through the windows in the paleontology lab in Prehistoric Journey where staff and volunteers are cleaning and preparing a few of the fossils recovered from Snowmass Village before they are sent to the conservation lab.

After the discovery of the juvenile Columbian mammoth in mid-October, excavation crews began digging for additional fossils on Nov. 2. Over two weeks, they uncovered an entire preserved Ice Age ecosystem including several mammoths and mastodons, insects, plants, and the first Jefferson’s ground sloth to be found in Colorado.

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