Mammoths Used To Live In Amarillo
Did you know that remains of Mammoths are so abundant in Pleistocene-era deposits of the Texas panhandle, that they serve as "index fossils" for beds of that age? That means that at one time, the Texas panhandle was full of several species of Mammoths. Some of them much larger than modern elephants. And at one point, they roamed right through what we know as modern day downtown Amarillo.
When the Santa Fe Railway general office building was constructed in 1928, the remains of Mammoths were found in the basement. At the time, no one knew that the then-tallest building in Amarillo would have much more historical meaning. The fossils found downtown belonged to a Columbian Mammoth, which was named after Christopher Columbus. The fossils are currently housed in the Panhandle Plains Historical Museum in Canyon.
The extinct American mammoths were closely related to the modern elephants of Africa and Asia. They migrated from Asia into America early in the Pleistocene Epoch, or Ice Ages, more than 1,000,000 years ago. They thrived on this continent until the end of that epoch, when they disappeared, along with many other ice age animals such as the giant bison ground sloth, horse, camel, and other lesser animals. The causes of this extinction are still being investigated. Early inhabitants of North America, such as men of the Clovis Culture (circa 12,000 to 15,000 years ago), pursued the mammoth as a means of subsistence.