A mammoth project

So just how old is the piece of mammoth tusk in the Okanagan Science Centre?

We are about to find out.

Jim Swingle, OSC executive director, said Laura Termes, a PhD candidate from Simon Fraser University, will be coming to the OSC at 1 pm Monday, June 17, to radio carbon date the mammoth tusk in the centre's collection.

“It is part of a project she is doing throughout B.C.,” said Swingle.

Swingle said Termes will use a tiny drill to collect a portion of the tusk that will then be sent for carbon dating to determine how old the fossil is.

“I am documenting mammoths to map them on the ice age landscape for a clearer picture of glaciation and glacial refugia in B.C.,” said Termes.

The BC Megafauna Project is looking at ice-age animals found in British Columbia with the goal of finding and documenting as many as possible, from both public and private collections.

The research will help determine when they lived (from radiocarbon dating,) information on their health and age (from the bones), and also information on their diet and how and where they moved across ice age British Columbia (using chemical analysis).

Chemical analysis will look at the stable isotope composition of faunal remains to give details about animals and their environment. To improve data on British Columbia's ice age, we are seeking bone and teeth samples from ice age animals for radiocarbon dating and isotope analysis.  

The researchers will also be stopping at museums in Penticton, Kelowna and Princeton.

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