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Picture of the day - September 24, 2006

An American Mastodon Skeleton In Saltville, Va

An American Mastodon skeleton in the Museum of the Middle Appalachians.
Click photo to enlarge

Today's picture features a scale model of an American Mastodon skeleton that stands on display at the wonderful Museum Of The Middle Appalachians in Saltville, Virginia. Mastodons, like modern elephants and their extinct cousins wooly mammoths, belong to the order Proboscidea.

Up until about 11,000 years ago, mastodons roamed the North American continent along with many other now extinct species, as well as many animals that are still around today. No one really knows for sure what caused their extinction, but we do know that there were lots of mastodons in our local area.

Thanks to the vast amount of salt to be found there, the valley in which present-day Saltville is located has always been a magnet for a large variety of animals.  Numerous fossils have been found in the Saltville Valley, and more are being discovered all the time (many of which end up in the museum).

Today, Saltville is a magnet for humans who have an interest in natural history, and the Museum Of The Middle Appalachians is a great place to start!

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