National Geographic : 1969 Feb
Bringing W HY WOULD SCIENTISTS look for the bones of Ice Age elephants at the bot tom of a river in sunny Florida? "Strangely enough," says Dr. S. David Webb, "some of Florida's major rivers still meander across the lowlands much as they did thousands of years ago. When animals fell in, their re mains settled gently to the bottom and were preserved under a slow accumulation of silt." Dr. Webb, assistant curator of fossil vertebrates at the University of Florida, recently rescued the skeleton of a 50,000 year-old mammoth from its watery grave in the Aucilla River, 40 miles east of Talla- Up Bertha hassee. A National Geographic Society grant made possible the recovery of the eight-ton giant, nicknamed Bertha by its discoverers. Diver at left inspects the find; at right, Dr. Webb lifts a 75-pound, 31/2-foot-long leg bone 40 feet to the surface beneath an air filled plastic bag. By next year, visitors will be able to see Bertha's awesome, 15-foot high skeleton in a new museum on the uni versity campus in Gainesville. Your Society dues make such projects possible. Give friends the opportunity to add their support; nominate them for membership below.