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  Around , years ago a giant ice dam in a lake  miles long collapsed under the weight of water a huge wave up to  metres high raced across the land at speeds of more than  miles an hour. This floodwater cut deep into the landscape, forming a giant waterfall several miles wide and more than twice the height of niagara falls. The roar of the advancing tidal wave would have been heard by animals hundreds of miles away as much as half an hour before it reached them two days later the lake was empty and the torrent started to subside, but by then millions of animals had died. Some of the fossils found beneath the streets of woodburn show it may have been hit by these floods. And there may have been people living here at that time. A strand of human hair discovered deep underground has been dated at around , years old. While many stone tools from the ice age have been found, evidence such as hair is very rare. The dating of the woodburn hair is controversial but if correct, it represents one of the oldest human relics on the continent. But is there other evidence to back it up? Another crucial hint that people did exist here as the ice age ended was discovered to the north of woodburn on the olympic peninsula. A two and a half metre long tusk was found and led to the unearthing of a giant skeleton, recreated here. Just the left hand side remained, but it was enough to identify one of the most impressive creatures of the ice age a mastodon. Mastodons, like mammoths, disappeared soon after the ice age ended, and this skeleton revealed one possible reason why. Between the ribs of this large male was found what seems to be a spear point which implies this mastodon encountered human hunters. A closer look reveals the rib bone healed around the injury showing that even if the mastodon had been attacked, he survived. Mastodons were distant relatives of woolly mammoths, but slightly smaller at around  metres. It’s thought that while the mammoths grazed the open grasslands, mastodons favoured patchy forests and swamps. They moved in small herds, browsing on large shrubs and trees.


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