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Mammoth Bones Covered for the Winter

Workers Begin to Cover Bones For Winter

GRANGEVILLE, Idaho (AP) - Tolo Lake's past retreated beneath the carefully
placed plaster and sand this week as workers began buttoning up the dig to
protect the bones of long extinct mammoths from being torn apart by winter.

In days the giant mammoth bones that provided a public spectacle will be gone or
safely buried again.

Paleontologist William A. Akersten of the Pocatello-based Idaho Museum of
Natural History led much of the work to recover and preserve the mammoth bones
with help from volunteers, students and professionals from other agencies.

Wednesday and Thursday, volunteers and paleontologists worked to remove the
bones they could and protect the ones only partly exposed for another winter in
the lake. University of Idaho geologists will drill core samples to learn more
about the lake. Workers in laboratories as far away as Florida will do their
parts to help unravel more of Tolo Lake's past by testing samples to tell how
long ago the mammoths lived near the lake.

Those involved in the dig turned their attention this week to the future -
planning next summer's work, finding as much as $250,000 to pay for it and
thinking about what will happen to the mammoth fossils once they are removed.

With the dig ended for the season, the chance for the public to tour the area is
also over.

"I think we could draw potentially 20,000 people. I'd like to have a crew of
about 50 with maybe 30 or 40 students and then the specialists working on it,"
University of Idaho archaeologist Lee Sappington said.

That is part of the reason for a the large budget. Another reason is the project
needs to be done quickly, Sappington said. The Idaho Fish and Game Department is
eager to finish the job of rehabilitating the lake and getting water back into