An adult Columbian mammoth stood fourteen feet tall at the shoulders. It weighed three to four tons and ate several hundred pounds of food a day. They were strong swimmers and spent lots of time in the water. That is what got some of them in trouble a long time ago near Hot Springs, South Dakota. Thirsty mammoths found a warm spring at the bottom of a deep hole. They went down to get a drink of water, but the sides of the hole were too steep for them to get out again. Many years went by. The pond filled with dirt and other animals. The dirt protected the animal bones. Then about twenty-five years ago, the site was found. It is called the Mammoth Site. Scientists have been digging at the site ever since then. They have found fifty-two mammoths so far. They have found giant short-faced bears, camels, llamas, and other animals, too.

Mammoth Dig Site
Photo courtesy of South Dakota Department of Tourism