Tag Archives: mammoth site

A wooly mammoth choking to death a giraffe drawn by William Wilkins from the Hot Springs mammoth excavation site in South Dakota

Mammoth Site Asst. Curator Justin Wilkins (Mammoth versus Giraffe?)

Way back in March, Lucas and I were leading a bus trip (The “Pay it Forward” Tour) across the country for Students Today Leaders Forever, which gives college students the opportunity to spend their spring breaks doing volunteer service in different communities along the way. One such stop found us at The Mammoth Site of Hot Springs, SD, which (for being in South Dakota) was surprisingly awesome. Spending an afternoon scraping inches of soil off the surface, surveying the field for good spots and trying to contain one’s excitement as we hope the calcium deposit on the fault line holds a bone if not a 26,000 year old wolf cropolite, one quickly realizes how big of a nerd they are when they begin to role play Stephen Jay Gould.

As the endeavor came to an end we made the ask to the Principle Investigator of the site Larry Agenbroad, who is also apparently the go-to mammoth expert for a slew of BBC/Discovery Channel documentaries, but he pointed out that one of his graduate students, a young assistant curator named William Justin Wilkins, was the site’s real artist. Not feeling up for a fight, I took Agenbroad’s word for what it was, hoping that he knew best. And as I should have never doubted, he did.

I have already ranted and raved about the offensiveness of portraying giraffes in, well, compromising situations, but I must say that this is piece is absolutely sublime, full of imagination. I mean, just look at it

A wooly mammoth choking to death a giraffe drawn by William Wilkins from the Hot Springs mammoth excavation site in South Dakota… Thereā€˜s just no way a mammoth would have that kind of reach on a giraffe.

But this does raise the question: Which animal would win in a fight?