Big, historic bones on display at Van Cortlandt Manor


Tuesday, 5/22/2012 12:20pm

Make no bones about it, it’s all about bones, specifically, mastodon bones .Yes, right here in the Hudson Valley, at Van Cortlandt Manor, at Animals & Acrobats, in the Cabinet of Curiousities THIS weekend.

But first, a little history…Two friends are out on the river canoeing when they stumble (err, row) upon what appears to be an unusual tree branch on the riverside. Turns out this tusk-like limb is in fact a Mastodon bone, and in pretty remarkable condition! One of those canoeing friends just happens to be an archeologist who hit a veritable professional digger’s jackpot: A nine-foot tusk protruding out from the muddy banks of the Walkill River in Orange County!

Their find goes on to provide scientists with all kinds of information…clues to the mastodon’s age, eating habits, where it roamed…all of which help inform geographical research, all from a tusk thought to be a tree branch!

Now, you can see a mastodon (of a somewhat different sort) at Van Cortland Manor. You can get up close and personal and learn all about the very first actual mastodon discovery made in 1801. Though bone-white, our Mastodon is actually very green. Sketched on paper first as a concept, our team executed it with reusable material like plastic bottles, telephone book pages, and cardboard egg cartons, plus a healthy dose of glue, paint, tape, wire, flour and water.

This life-size behemoth is waiting for you to visit Memorial Day Weekend, May 26-28.

In addition to the Mastodon, the Cabinet of Curiousities contains taxidermy specimens, fossils, animal skulls, shells and other interesting natural history items on loan from Teatown Lake Reservation.

Other cool additions that are brand NEW this year include:

  • The Fiji Mermaid — A historical hoax created by attaching the torso of a monkey onto the tail of a large fish.
  • Mummy and Sarcophagus — A papier mache version similar to those displayed in our area in the mid 1800's.
  • Assorted objects relating to human anatomy such as a Peruvian Skull, faux heart and brain.
  • Reproduction prints of exotic and unusual animals.

Of course, Animals & Acrobats also features a wealth of circus performers and ambassador animals rescued and rehabilitated by conservation groups. Bring your family, friends and neighbors too!

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