Manitoba Heritage Council Commemorative Plaques

The Fossil Elephants of Manitoba

>The Fossil Elephants of Manitoba
Installed 1990
Birds Hill Provincial Park

Mammoths and mastodons were two of the most prominent species of megafauna ("big animals") to inhabit Manitoba during the last Ice Age. Between 65,000 and 25,000 years ago, mammoths grazed on the lush grasses of Manitoba's prairies, while mastodons browsed in the spruce swamps and woodlands.

About 25,000 years ago, the climate cooled, massive glaciers advanced from the north, and the animals were forced out of Manitoba. The southwestern portion of the province was repopulated by mammoths when the glaciers retreated some 12,000 years later. By 10,000 years ago, the climate warmed to the point where the habitat changed. This, perhaps with centuries of hunting, brought about the animals' extinction.

Mammoth and mastodon bones, teeth, and fragments of ivory tusks have been found in over a dozen locations in Manitoba, mostly in gravel quarries in the southern half of the province. A number of such finds have been made in the Birds Hill area.