Hyde Park Mastodon Research: Beetles

Above: The thorax of an unidentified insect taken from sediments near the Hyde Park Mastodon. Scanning electron microscope (SEM) photo courtesy of the Boston Museum of Science.

By looking at the fossil beetles from the Hyde Park Mastodon site, scientists hope to better understand what the weather was like at the end of the last Ice Age. Deacy-resistant beetle parts settled to the bottom of the pond and became preserved as fossils in the mud. By looking at the groups of beetles that were living at any one time, scientists can reconstruct climate by looking at places where similar groups of species are alive today. Then, one can make an educated guess that the weather where these species are living today is similar to the weather at the Hyde Park site during the age of the mastodon.