Night Hike-Nocturnal Animals Saturday, July 21 8:30pm Lowe-Volk Park The night comes alive with animals that can only be seen or heard after the sun sets. Join Abby to learn about Ohio’s nocturnal animals while going on a night hike in search of those nocturnal creatures. You may even get a chance to meet a screech owl! All ages are welcome; however, the night hike can be difficult for younger kids who have a fear of the dark.
Canoeing Tuesday, July 24 6:30pm Pines Reservoir Join Lisa and Josh for an evening paddle around Pines Reservoir. Learn some canoeing basics and take to the water! As we paddle, we also enjoy some time watching wildlife. Pre-registration is required by July 23.
Viewing the Night Sky Saturday, July 28 9pm Lowe-Volk Park Join members of the Crawford Park Astronomy Club as they share their knowledge and telescope skills with all who are interested in the celestial sights. Targets for the summer include: M-104 Sombrero Galaxy, M-3 Globular Cluster, Rosette Nebula, and Jupiter. Bring your own telescope or allow the volunteers to assist you with those provided. It’s a spectacular universe!
Mastodon Mystery: Crawford County’s Ice Age
The extinction of over 30 species of mega-fauna occurred over 10,000 years ago. Lions, cheetahs, camels, sloths, and mammoths are just some of those that vanished from the Earth during the Pleistocene Epoch. (See page 10 for more information regarding Ohio’s geologic past.) Unfortunately, confirmation of only one extinct mammal has come to light in Crawford County: Mastodons. The following is an overview of the most recent Mastodon finds. In 1971, three brothers were playing in the Brokensword Creek, 1 mile northwest of Sulphur Springs, Ohio. (Isn’t that what kids are supposed to do?) They found what turned out to be two molars from a Mastodon. The molars were sent to OSU for examination. A professor then led a 9-member team to possibly recover more remains. A tusk and other bones were found, including the atlas vertebra (C1). The tusk unfortunately fell apart. Those pieces were divvied up and given to various individuals and institutions. In 1973, a father and his two sons excavated the same site and discovered the other tusk, another tooth, part of a clavicle, and the skull. The skull was in such poor condition that the only parts saved were the bones of the ears and a part of the jaw that formerly held a tusk. These items are currently in a private collection.
In the fall of 2009, the Crawford Park District attempted to determine the exact site of the Sulphur Springs Mastodon, in hopes that more bones could be discovered. (Oddly enough, there was no record as to the exact location of the find.) Over the course of three digs, it was determined that, based on the shifting of the subsoil, the original site had been located. Unfortunately, no other bones were found. The assumption was that the rest of the body had washed down stream. In the fall of 2017, while walking in the Brokensword Creek, Chris Rothhaar kicked up a curious object from the creek bed. It turned out to be a Mastodon rib! While only a few hundred yards downstream from the original Mastodon find, it is presumed to be from the same animal; however, this is not definitive. Where the rest of the skeleton is for this animal remains to be seen. Other Mastodon remains have been found in Crawford County. The most complete skeleton, referred to as the Hahn Mastodon, was discovered in 1838 near the tracks on Hopley Avenue in Bucyrus. Documents claim it to have been a complete skeleton. Unfortunately, it is presumed to have been consumed by fire in a Philadelphia museum. Two other references from the Ohio History Connection cite a Mastodon being found in Chatfield (1880, disposition unknown), and a Mastodon molar in Bucyrus Township (date unknown, now at OSU’s Orton Hall). Currently, the Crawford Park District has the atlas, a molar, and a rib, all presumed to be from the Sulphur Springs Mastodon, on temporary display at the Nature Center. A long-term exhibit is being developed for the three pieces. Stop in to see a piece of Crawford County’s history. The CPD would like to thank the following for assisting in the documentation of Crawford County’s Ice Age History: Dale Stansbury, Dale Gnidovec of OSU’s Orton Hall, The Ohio History Connection, Tom Kibler, Evelyn Kibler, Chris Rothhaar, and the Medici Family.
Photos of the dig of 2009. Note soil layers used to determine the shift after the hole caved in from 1973. Dale Stansbury probes trench for possible remains.
A Visit Through Ohio’s Geology
Studying Ohio’s geologic history gives insight into how our landscape has changed. During the Pre-Cambrian, our igneous and metamorphic “basement rocks” formed. These are known only from deep drillings. After this period, evidence of the last 570 million years can be seen somewhere near the surface in Ohio. Seas came and went throughout the Cambrian, Ordivician, Silurian, and Devonian Periods, providing deposition for many sedimentary rocks; the Carboniferous Period was punctuated by an influx in land plants and swamps that created the base for the great coal beds; sedimentary bedrocks of shale, limestone, and coal developed during the Permian Period; and a great void of geologic time (245 million years’ worth) is lost, with natural forces erasing any evidence of the “Age of Dinosaurs” and the “Rise of Mammals”. Most recently, the Quarternary Period has left the most obvious mark on our landscape. During the latter part of this period, the Pleistocene Epoch – better known as the Ice Age – gripped Ohio. Glaciers scraped bedrock and deposited clays, sand, gravel, and rock that we see today. Ohio had at least three major glaciation events, the last being the Wisconsinan. (If there were more, proceeding glaciers erased that evidence.) As this last glacial ice sheet receded, it left behind a landscape similar to a tundra that gave way to a spruce bog habitat. Within these habitats, the last of the now-extinct prehistoric mammals eked out their final days.