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State Historical Society of Iowa
Mammoth exhibit at the State Historical Building

Mammoth: Witness to Change

On August 14, 2001, construction workers made a surprising discovery in downtown Des Moines. During construction for an Allied Insurance and Farmland Insurance parking ramp, workers drilled deep into the ground until they hit bedrock — and bone. The large drill cut through the skeleton of a mammoth lying on the floor of the Raccoon River valley, breaking the bone into fragments. Allied Insurance recognized the significance of the discovery and donated the mammoth bones to the State Historical Museum of Iowa. These and the bones of other extinct ice age creatures are on display in Mammoth: Witness to Change. Stand in the shadow of a full-skeleton replica of a Hebior mammoth found in southeastern Wisconsin in 1994 and learn what life was like for these animals during the ice age.


  • Full skeleton replica of a Hebior mammoth
  • Real mammoth bones found in downtown Des Moines
  • A hair sample from a mammoth
  • Bones of other extinct ice age creatures that roamed Iowa