Wooly mammoths. Everyone loves them. They, along with the saber-toothed cat and the T. rex are the heroes of the fossil world. Well it just so happens that two of the greatest fossil mammoths and mastadons were near some of my General Science students this year.
The photo on the left shows, Lyuba, a fossilized mammoth (1 month old) found in Siberia in 2007. Along with another young mammoth (Chroma) unearthed in 2008 these two make some of the most intact of their kind ever discovered, with a great deal of soft tissue preserved. Chroma even had undigested milk in her belly. Lyuba is currently at the New Royal BC Museum in Vancouver, on loan from the Shemanovskiy Yamal-Nenets District Museum and Exhibition Complex in Siberia, and has been travelling the world since 2010.
The photo on the right shows a mastodon fossil at the famous fossil graveyard of La Brea Tar Pits. This site is smack dab in the middle of Los Angeles and serves as a museum and active dig site. The ancient tar pits served as both trap and preservation mechanism for the wide variety of fossilized mammals and other creatures in the area.
One of the ever-present issues in paleontology is the lack of reliability of radiometric dating. Here is a helpful resource for understanding carbon-dating and its limitations. If this topic is of interest to you consider purchasing Thousands not Billions, an e-book by Donald De Young which summarizes the R.A.T.E. (Radioisotopes and the Age of the Earth), an eight-year investigation led by the Institute for Creation Research.