Nova: Season 39, Episode 13

Ice Age Death Trap (2012)

TV Episode  -  Documentary | Biography
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In a race against developers in the Rocky Mountains, archaeologists uncover a unique fossil site packed with astonishingly well-preserved bones of mammoths, mastodons, and other giant ... See full summary »


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Episode cast overview:
Lance Lewman ...
Himself - Narrator (voice)
Kirk Johnson ...
Himself - Denver Museum of Nature & Science
Daniel Fisher ...
Himself - University of Michigan
Ian Miller ...
Himself - Denver Museum of Nature & Science
Joseph Sertich ...
Himself - Vertebrate Paleontologist
Eugene Schweig ...
Himself - (United States Geological Survey
Richard Stucky ...
Himself - Denver Museum of Nature & Science


In a race against developers in the Rocky Mountains, archaeologists 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. Written by Nova

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2012 (USA)  »

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16:9 HD
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The "shake, kill, shake, bury" theory.
18 August 2014 | by (Houston, Tx, USA, Earth) – See all my reviews

This is a very interesting NOVA program. I found it on Netflix streaming movies.

In recent years a project at Snowmass Village in the Colorado Rocky Mountains, in the prep work, a bulldozer driver noticed what looked like bones or teeth in the dirt, so he stopped and brought it to the proper attention.

Archeologists were delighted, it appeared to be a totally new find, but to keep the project on schedule they were allowed just a few weeks, a tiny bit of time, to excavate and see what they could find. They brought in as many diggers as they could.

They found hundreds of bones, but most significant seemed to be most of the animals died at or near the same time, about 100,000 years ago, in the lowest level of sediment. Mostly very large and now extinct animals like Mastodons, Mammoths, Giant Sloth, and a North American variety of Camel. It will never be know for certain but a prime theory is that if the animals were at the pond's edge when an Earthquake shook the ground, a phenomenon called "liquefaction" could have turned the wet sand into a type of quicksand the consistency of pudding, and if the large animals sank to their knees or more when the shaking stopped and the ground solidified again they couldn't get out and soon died.

Another surprising find in an upper layer were Mammoth bones mixed in with medium sized boulders. With no other boulders in that upper layer, about 45,000 years ago. It cannot yet be proved but the speculation is early man used the pond as a meat storage, using boulders to keep the carcass submerged to protect it from scavengers and keep it from spoiling, until they could return and retrieve the meat. But no actual remains of man that old have been found anywhere in North America so it will remain just speculation.

A very nice program of a very interesting find.

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