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Findings at the site include the remains of megafauna such as Giant short-faced bears along with those of shrub oxen, American camel, llama, wolves, coyotes, birds, minks, ferrets, prairie dogs, voles, and moles.A hypothesis drawn from observations of modern elephants' matriarchal societies, in which these group members are expelled, concludes that this group was inclined to the risk-taking behavior that led to their entrapment.
Over thousands of years, the "hardened mud plug" inside the dried-up pond has remained stable.
Initially, several attempts were made to radiocarbon date collagen from scrap mammoth bone recovered from the site. time frame has been widely used by researchers as the approximate the time that sediments and mammoths bones accumulated within the sinkhole within the Mammoth Site of Hot Springs.
All of these attempts failed to recover sufficient collagen from the bone samples to allow dating of this fraction. Because of the limitations of radiocarbon dates derived from bone apatite, a tooth plate from a mammoth was dated and uranium series dating and sediments enclosing the mammoth bones were dated using thermoluminescence (TL) and optically stimulated luminescence (OSL).
The presence of worm burrows and mammoth footprints found throughout these sediments, demonstrate that the laminated sediments within this sinkhole accumulated slowly and contemporaneously along the mammoth remains over a long period of time.
Likely enticed by warm water and pond vegetation, mammoths entered the pond to eat, drink or bathe.
The surrounding sediment was subsequently eroded, leaving the sinkhole as a high point on the landscape.
Warm artesian-fed spring waters created a pond that was attractive to wildlife.Later, samples of the bone apatite (hydroxyapatite) fraction from mammoth bones were radiocarbon dated. Samples of bone apatite, which were not heat treated, yielded radiocarbon dates of 21,000±700, 25,640±320, and 26,075 975/-790 B. A single sample of bone carbonate was radiocarbon dated at 36,960±1170 B. The tooth plate yielded a uranium series date of 128,966 B. The results of the TL dating were apparently never published and preliminary OSL ages indicate that the sinkhole and its associated sediments and mammoth bones are indeed older than 26 ka.Two samples of the heat treated apatite fraction yielded radiocarbon dates of 19,260±1520 B. Phil Anderson agreed to donate the entire bone bed and mineral rights to the nonprofit organization and along with the work performed by amateur and professional excavators, led to its status as a museum, and it was designated a National Natural Landmark in 1980.Mammoth bones were found at the site in 1974, and a museum and building enclosing the site were established.The museum now contains an extensive collection of mammoth remains.During the Late Pleistocene, the sinkhole at Mammoth Site of Hot Springs formed when a cavern in the Minnelusa Limestone collapsed.