So far this past week, we’ve crammed more activities into one week that we’d previously done all year. There is a lot of beautiful scenery here in Switzerland, and though we spend time in the mountains, we also like museums of all shapes and sizes. Our busy holiday started a week ago when my husband took a few weeks off from work, and our first stop was just over the hill range in the next valley, known as Furttal: We had a private tour (given by an old family friend) through the local mammoth museum; it is one of the few in Europe. Roughly 185,000 years ago, glaciers and glacial lakes came and went, and the intermittent stages formed lush valleys filled with wild grasses & forests – the perfect place for mammoths to forage. Fortunately for us, but unfortunately for the mammoths, the ground could sometimes become swampy, trapping victims, and thus preserving their remains intact. Today, any construction site in the valley is likely to find fossils, and the archaeologists are called in on a regular basis – whether by construction crews or by farmers whose ploughing churns up artefacts (from prehistoric to Roman).
To read more details about the findings, click on the image above for a scientific report (PDF), or on the link above for the museum information. And just as a side note: Mammoth teeth are huge, and were formed with ridges that ground their food between the top and bottom teeth (see image below, showing a fragment in comparison to a whole tooth).