The First People and the Last Mammoths in Wyoming
By Todd Surovell
August 22, 2019
Join us for our Draper Natural History Museum’s August “Draper After Dark” lecture. Dr. Todd Surovell from the University of Wyoming’s Department of Anthropology presents the First People and Last Mammoths in Wyoming. The talks in this series are free, and take place in the Buffalo Bill Center of the West’s Coe Auditorium once a month from June through August.
Not long ago, Wyoming was home to mammoths, extinct relatives of elephants weighing up to 20,000 pounds. These lumbering giants went extinct only some five hundred human generations ago, but they lived here for almost two million years before disappearing from what is now Wyoming. Though we can no longer see matriarchal herds of mammoth grazing on Wyoming’s grasslands, the first humans to enter the state did have that opportunity. For more than fifty years, archaeologists have been studying interactions between the first humans and last mammoths in Wyoming, and though we still have much to learn, the archaeological record tells us something about the interaction between these two species. In this lecture, Dr. Surovell talks about various aspects of his work examining humans and mammoths in Wyoming, from the process of finding sites, to what he has learned about the behavior of the first people in Wyoming, and what he believes caused the extinction of the mammoths.
About our speaker
Dr. Todd A. Surovell is a Professor and Department Head at the Department of Anthropology at the University of Wyoming where he has worked since 2003. He is the former Director of the George C. Frison Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology. Born and raised in northern Virginia, he received in B.A. in Anthropology and Zoology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and his M.A. and Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Arizona. He is an archaeologist with specialization in the Paleoindian period, the first period of New World archaeology. He is also an expert in stone tool technology, the human colonization of the New World , and Pleistocene extinctions. He is the author of one book and more than 50 published articles. His major research efforts include the excavation of the 12,800 year old Barger Gulch site, a Folsom campsite in Middle Park, Colorado, and the Dukha Ethnoarchaeological Project, a study of nomadic reindeer herders in Mongolia. He has participated in archaeological fieldwork throughout the American west as well as in Israel and Denmark. He is currently excavating the La Prele and Bishop Mammoth sites in Converse County, Wyoming.
Draper After Dark lectures are supported in part by Sage Creek Ranch and the Nancy-Carroll Draper Foundation.
These lectures take place in our Coe Auditorium and are free and open to the public.