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Meade County Elephants?

GERRY FISCHER



Gerry Fischer with the massive mammoth bone which is more than likely from the lower leg of a calf.

A large bone donated to the Meade County History Museum is preliminarily identified as that of a Wooly Mammoth. Ten thousand years before present, Meade County had an environment similar to that near the arctic circle today. The landscape was like the Alaskan tundra due to the advancing glaciers and produced Floyd Knobs in Indiana, where they reached their southern termination. The animal life then occupying Meade County, consisted of Mammoth, Giant Cave Bear, Dire Wolf, and Smilodon, or the Sabre-toothed Cat. There were also large Bison, 25% larger than Bison today, named Bison antiquus, Elk and smaller species of game, but the Paleolithic Mammoth dominated the landscape.The people of that time, sometimes called Clovis, hunted these gigantic elephants with only sticks and stones. These people are believed to have traveled together in family groups of about five or six members, totaling, 25 people or more, who banded together for mutual protection. The male hunters would leave the band, pick out a mammoth usually one that was very old, injured, or very young. They would ambush the elephant from rocky crags, or the sparse tundra, using a compound spear and a spear thrower. The spear had a socketed-lightwood shaft and a hardwood fore shaft that fit into the socket. They used a spear-thrower, similar to the Central American Atlatl, to spear the mammoth. When the animal died from loss of blood, the entire band was brought-up and fed off the kill as long as possible. They often had to fight Smilodon, Cave Bear or Dire Wolf, to keep their kill. Tuesday last, there was a knock on the Fischer door, and a neighbor had a large bone nearly 18” in length, 5” to 6” in girth, weighing approximately 10 lbs. It is likely a tibia, found in a clay-bank near the confluence of two streams. The gentleman who found the bone asked the neighbor to donate it to the Meade County History Museum where it will be preserved and exhibited. It fits well in either the natural history or Native American gallery. Thanks to the anonymous donor and my neighbor.