Prehistory: Paleontology
"Sugar" The Sugar Loaf Mastodon
Discovered in May of 1972 on a black dirt farm
near the Warwick-Chester border. Sugar has
been radio-carbon dated at 9860—between 7685
B.C. and 8135 B.C.
The bones lay at a depth of five feet below the
surface of the ground in an area which had once
been a small glacial lake and today is a drained
and fertile bog planted in lettuce and celery. It
appears that the animal either died of natural
causes and toppled into the lake, or became
mired and drowned. No evidence was found to
suggest that it had been killed by man, although
that possibility cannot be discounted inasmuch as
man and mastodon were contemporaries in
Orange County. (Radio-carbon dating at
Dutchess Quarry Cave places Early Man in the
County at 10,580 B.C.)
The high peat content of the bogs which
formed the Black Dirt preserved fossil
The Black Dirt, or Drowned Lands, was
once a vast lake and swamp called
today by scientists “Glacial Lake
The first mastodon skeleton exhibited in North America
was found near Newburgh in 1817.
A mastodon skeleton was found in Chester’s black dirt in
More about Peale’s Mastodon
Living Environment: Species change over time