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Starting Saturday, the first day of Nevada Paleontology Month, the research team is launching a crowdsourced fundraiser to helppay for the work.

(Chase Stevens/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @csstevensphoto Steve Rowland, a paleontology professor at UNLV, talks about the ongoing excavation of the bones and tusks of an approximately 20,000-year-old Columbian Mammoth in Amargosa Valley on Friday, March 31, 2017.

(Chase Stevens/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @csstevensphoto Current and former UNLV students, led by paleontology professor Steve Rowland, left, work on excavating the bones and tusks of an approximately 20,000-year-old Columbian Mammoth in Amargosa Valley on Friday, March 31, 2017.

Based on the testing so far, the bones appear to date back about 20,000 years to what scientists call the “last glacial maximum,” when the climate in Southern Nevada was wetter and colder than at any point during the past 100,000 years.

“This would have been just a huge, huge marshy area that was very, very wet,” Rowland said, motioning to the dry, scrub-covered desert surrounding the dig site.

Rowland said the dig will likely last several more weeks at least, though the exact time line depends on what they find as they scratch around the site with small picks, rock hammers, paint brushes and their hands.

The work is being done under a permit from the federal Bureau of Land Management.All the fossils collected will go to the Las Vegas Natural History Museum for study, preservation and display.“Scientific excavation is a slow process,” said Mark Boatwright, an archaeologist for the BLM in Las Vegas, during a visit to the site Friday.(Chase Stevens/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @csstevensphoto Current and former UNLV students, from left, Kristen Rode, Dawn Reynoso and Fabian Hardy work on excavating the bones and tusks of an approximately 20,000-year-old Columbian Mammoth in Amargosa Valley on Friday, March 31, 2017.(Chase Stevens/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @csstevensphoto Current and former UNLV students, from left, Dawn Reynoso, Fabian Hardy and Ann Marie Jones work on excavating the bones and tusks of an approximately 20,000-year-old Columbian Mammoth in Amargosa Valley on Friday, March 31, 2017.“Any time you find them I think it’s rare — and a treasure,” he said.What makes this discovery unique is the position in which the mammoth was found. Its head went straight down into the ground and its skeleton was preserved that way somehow,” Rowland said.(Chase Stevens/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @csstevensphoto Tools used by current and former UNLV students during the excavation of the bones and tusks of an approximately 20,000-year-old Columbian Mammoth in Amargosa Valley on Friday, March 31, 2017.(Chase Stevens/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @csstevensphoto UNLV students Kristen Rode, left, and Malik Milton during the excavation of the bones and tusks of an approximately 20,000-year-old Columbian Mammoth in Amargosa Valley on Friday, March 31, 2017.(Chase Stevens/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @csstevensphoto Ann Marie Jones, right, a UNLV Ph. student focusing on paleontology, works on excavating the bones and tusks of an approximately 20,000-year-old Columbian Mammoth in Amargosa Valley on Friday, March 31, 2017.(Chase Stevens/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @csstevensphoto Steve Rowland, a paleontology professor at UNLV, heads to the ongoing excavation site of the bones and tusks of an approximately 20,000-year-old Columbian Mammoth in Amargosa Valley on Friday, March 31, 2017.

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