In 2005, Roger Castillo, a citizen scientist, walked his dog along the Guadalupe River in San Jose. He spotted some bones. First he thought they were cow bones, but a closer inspection led him to believe it was a different animal. He called a geologist from San Jose State. The UC Museum of Paleontology excavated part of a skull, a femur, some toe bones and a rip fragment of a young mammoth.
Lupe the Mammoth, named after the Guadalupe River, was a juvenile Columbian Mammoth. It was a big revelation for the scientific community since these are the most intact remains of a mammoth ever found in Santa Clara County. Today the Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose has the remains of Lupe on display. The museum also teaches kids about the works of paleontologists, with a hands-on exhibit.
There are two sculptures of mammoth in San Jose. Both depict adult size mammoths and are about 11-foot high. One is on the outside of the Children’s Discovery Museum looking into the exhibit made by Blue Rhino Studio. The other is near where Lupe’s remains were found. This statue is an 11-foot bent pipe sculpture by Greenmeme Artists Freyja Bardell and Brian Howe. The juvenile Lupe mammoth was probably 6-feet tall.
If you want to see the metal sculpture, parking is tight around there. I recommend you bike the Guadalupe River Trail. On your ride you can stop at both sculptures.
In a KQED video UC Berkeley’s Paleontologist Kaitlin Maguire
explains the history of Lupe and her involvement of the exhibit at the Children’s Discovery Museum.
What do you know about Columbian Mammoth?
If you decide to bike the Guadalupe River Trail maybe keep on going to the Three Creeks Trail and see the iris garden?
Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose