Ice Age

Giants of the

ILLED WITH COLOR

photos and illustrations, Ice Age
Giants of the South describes
some of the most important fossil
discoveries from South Carolina
to Texas. Readers learn how
paleontologists use fossil clues to
animals and their habitats.

JOHNSTON have co-authored nine
award-winning natural science books
for young readers. They were honored
as Georgia Authors of the Year in

instruction for the Fernbank Science
Ms. Cutchins is an instructor and
writer in the biology department.

1.8 million years ago. Ten thousand
years ago, when a warming trend
brought the last Ice Age to an end,
these extraordinary animals became
extinct. Fossils are the only clues
to their lives and habitats.
The southern United States is one
of the best places in the world to
find Ice Age fossils. Fossilized teeth
and bones are found in a variety
of locations. Some are found by

ilized
the foss
e
is
a
r
a
f Florid
uddy
ersity o
iv
n
m the m
U
o
e
fr
th
th
o
m
o
m
fr
n mam
, divers
olumbia
y bone
C
b
s
e
u
n
o
o
B
norm
of an e
River.
Aucilla
skeleton
’s
a
id
r
of Flo
bottom

divers searching river bottoms
or water-filled caves. Many are
discovered accidentally by
people digging to make way

Johnston

Center in Atlanta, Georgia, where

during the Ice Ages, which began

and

coordinator of curriculum and

STAR
BLACK
HULKE/
FLIP SC

hold elementary education specialist
degrees. Ms. Johnston is the

the large animals that lived

Cutchins

Juvenile Literature in 1991. Both

ABER-TOOTHED CATS,

and giant sloths are just a few of

South

JUDY CUTCHINS and GINNY

S

dire wolves, mammoths, mastodons,

of the

develop theories about prehistoric

South

Giants

ck
toms, ro
iver bot
and
kholes,
n
i
s
,
s
e
i
th
quarr
s to Sou
a
x
e
T
om
ests
caves fr
sure ch
a
e
r
t
e
r
aa
sts
Carolin
. Scienti
ls
i
s
s
o
f
ge
of Ice A
ctors
eur colle
t
a
m
a
nd
and
bones a
d
e
r
e
v
o
c
have un
such
t giants
c
n
i
t
x
e
f
teeth o
oths,
mamm
,
s
n
o
d
o
as mast
d
loths, an
s
d
n
u
o
giant gr
e
cats. T h
d
e
h
t
o
o
saber-t
ant
import
e
d
i
v
o
r
fossils p
tists
lp scien
e
h
t
a
h
clues t
y of
r a stor
e
h
t
e
g
o
piece t
ore
s like m
a
w
e
f
li
what
o.
years ag
0
0
,0
0
1
than

Ice Age

R

F

Southern FOSSIL
discoveries vol. 1

for new roads or working in rock
quarries. Wherever fossils are
found, scientists from museums
and universities study them

I SB N 1 - 5 6 1 64 - 1 9 5 - 2

5 1 4 95

to learn more about what
Ice Age life was like.

Pineapple Press, Inc.
Sarasota, Florida
9 78 1 5 6 1 64 1 9 5 6

Pineapple Press, Inc. • Sarasota, Florida

Judy Cutchins and Ginny Johnston

Southern FOSSIL
discoveries vol. 1

Ice Age
Giants of the
South

Judy Cutchins and Ginny Johnston

Pineapple Press, Inc. • Sarasota, Florida

Acknowledgments
The authors wish to thank the following individuals for their expertise in
developing our book: Richard Hulbert, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Geology
and Museum Curator, Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, Georgia; S.
David Webb, Ph.D., Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology, Florida Museum of
Natural History, Gainesville, Florida; C. Andrew Hemmings, graduate
research assistant, University of Florida; Patty Crews, Geologist,
Jacksonville, Florida; and Ed Hooks, Ph.D., Paleontologist and Collections
Manager, Alabama Museum of Natural History, Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
We also gratefully acknowledge a number of individuals for their assistance
in research and in photograph acquisition: Erika H. Simons, Florida Museum
of Natural History, Gainesville, Florida; Cynthia Ryals, Daytona Museum of
Arts and Sciences, Daytona, Florida; Fred Grady, National Museum of
Natural History, Washington, D.C.; Eric Taylor, Florida Paleontological
Society, Lake City, Florida; Lucky Lowe, Brunswick, Georgia; Dr. Cliff
Jeremiah, Jacksonville, Florida; Lawrence A. Wilson, Ph.D., Fernbank
Science Center, Atlanta, Georgia; and Geb Bennett, Dallas Museum of
Natural History, Dallas, Texas.

Copyright © 2000 by Judy Cutchins and Ginny Johnston
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any means, electronic or
mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system,
without permission in writing from the publisher.
Inquiries should be addressed to:
Pineapple Press, Inc.
P.O. Box 3899
Sarasota, Florida 34230
www.pineapplepress.com.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Cutchins, Judy.
Ice age giants of the South / Judy Cutchins and Ginny Johnston.
p. cm. — (Southern fossil discoveries)
Includes index.
Summary: Chronicles recent archaeological discoveries of fossils in the Southern States.
ISBN 1-56164-195-2
1. Prehistoric animals—Juvenile literature. 2. Vertebrates, Fossil—Juvenile literature.
3. Archaeology—Southern States—Juvenile literature. [1. Prehistoric animals. 2. Fossils. 3. Paleontology.]
I. Johnston, Ginny. II. Title. III. Series.
QE842.C88 2000
566—dc21
First Edition
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Design by Carol Tornatore
Printed in China

99-087670

Contents
1.

Fossils of Giant Mammals

2.

Great Glaciers

3.

Life along a Pleistocene River

4.

Land Bridges Between Continents

5.

Caves and Sinkholes

6.

Discoveries in Florida Sinkholes

7.

Miles and Miles of Grasslands

8.

Stories Told by Teeth

9.

What Happened to the Giants of the Ice Age?
Glossary

Index

48

8

46

Scientific Names

4

47

12
20

22
25
32

38
44

o

ne

Fossils
of Giant

Mammals

D

uring the long cool periods that
gave the Ice Age its name, the earth was
not frozen solid. Worldwide, average
temperatures dropped only a few degrees,
but it was enough to add ice to the glaciers
over time. For thousands of years, the
glaciers grew, but they never covered the
earth. In regions south of these tremendous
ice sheets, there was a variety of habitats
for plants and animals. Amazingly, some
habitats were in tropical climates. The
South, from Texas to South Carolina, was a
very warm region throughout the Ice Age.
Scientists know saber-toothed cats,
mammoths, mastodons, and many more
Ice Age animals lived in the South because
their fossils have been found. When
animals die, their softer parts (skin, flesh,
muscles, organs) decay rapidly. Harder
teeth and bones take longer to decay,
and there is a better chance that they
may become fossilized.

4

ig?
W hy So B of fossil bones prove

e sizes
were
T he hug
nimals
a
c
i
r
o
t
s
i
ny preh
rge
that ma
elieve la
b
s
t
s
i
t
en
ler,
ome sci
n to coo
giants. S
o
i
t
a
t
p
da
t
e is an a
gest tha
body siz
g
u
s
s
r
the
mates. O
ger
drier cli
ome lar
c
e
b
ly
l
gradua
animals
ful.
s plenti
i
d
o
o
f
when

The largest mastodon ever discovered in North America was found in northern Florida’s Aucilla River in 1968.
Nicknamed “Priscilla,” the skeleton is 11 feet tall. (Don Burk, Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville, FL)

5

A researcher from the University of
Florida uncovers a leg bone of
an extinct giant ground sloth.
(Florida Museum of Natural History,
Gainesville, FL)

Divers find large fossils like this
mastodon vertebra (backbone)
on the bottom of southern rivers.
(Gene Middlebrooks)

Fossil bones and teeth are not the
only clues to the past. Preserved dung
(waste material), stomach contents, wood,
pollen, and seeds have also been found.
Paleontologists use these clues to determine
which plants and animals lived in the
South during the Ice Age and what their
habitats were like.

6

Southern Fossil Discoveries
Volume 1: Ice Age Giants
of the South
by
Judy Cutchins and Ginny Johnston

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