Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Possible Mastodon Petroglyph

A number of wire services have picked up the story of the discovery of a possible petroglyph of a mastodon, forty feet down in Lake Michigan off Traverse City. This is the best picture I have been able of find of it so far. Hopefully better ones will be presented soon. The assumption here is that the boulder this is on was on the lake shore more than 10,000 years ago when Lake Michigan's level was lower. I am not at all familiar with the rise and fall of levels of the Great Lakes during the Pleistocene to know if this depth "works" for the current lake-level models during human occupation of the area. At least that's the first technical question I would ask. I'm still looking forward to clearer images of the thing.

This would of course be very cool if true. I previously posted here and here and here on possible Pleistocene rock art and how rare it appears to be.

This possible new discovery comes on the heels of this little story and photo essay on a mastodon tooth that belonged to Benjamin Franklin.


Chas S. Clifton said...

I just started reading Paul Martin's Twilight of the Mammoths, now out in paperback, so I now see how significant this find might be. I haven't finished the book yet, so I don't know how he fits the paucity of rock art equivalent to Europe's into his hypothesis of the "big wipe-out."

Reid Farmer said...

Martin says that the die-off happened so fast that there wasn't time to develop a Paleoindian artistic tradition depicting megafauna. I dunno

The biggest issue I have with him is the fact that Paleoindian kill sites have such a limited number of species: mammoth, mastodon, bison - the first horse kill site was just published on last year.