Monday, October 7, 2019

Woolly Mammoths and the Jews

In the news today is a story about new research regarding the very last population of woolly mammoths, on a remote Arctic island. Incredibly, these survived until just 4000 years ago - as the story says, "a few hundred years after the Ancient Egyptians built the Great Pyramid at Giza." And this is good news for the Jews! Or at least, for this Jew.

As I've explained in the past, I have a skeleton in my closet - specifically, various parts of dinosaur skeletons. They stay in my closet at home, rather than going on display at the Biblical Museum of Natural History, because many of our visitors are from the charedi community and many of them would object to displays of creatures that lived longer than 5780 years ago.

But recently we received two separate gifts of two very special specimens. One is the molar tooth of a woolly mammoth, and the other is a section of mammoth tusk. (Interestingly, while it is completely illegal to trade in elephant tusks, there are no such restrictions for mammoth tusks, because mammoths are not endangered.) The tusk has a particularly fascinating story - it was given to us by a woman who found it while going through the belongings of her late father, who was a US army chaplain in Alaska and acquired it there.

Now, since mammoths existed well into the Biblical period, we can display these amazing artifacts in the museum without any problems! We set up them up as part of a new exhibit titled "Wonders From The Earth." I'm currently working on the signage, and I came up with a great tagline: "When The Israelites Went Down To Egypt... Mammoths Roamed The Earth!" If you're coming to visit the museum, look out for it!

Wishing you all a Gmar Chatima Tova!



11 comments:

  1. Like like the mammoth, but this is subversion.

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  2. Just so long as no one asks how you would acquire a mammoth...

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  3. "When The Israelites Went Down To Egypt... Mammoths Roamed The Earth!"

    ..

    if mammoths went extinct 4000 years ago,it would be year 1780 from creation of world. (124 years after the flood.)

    The Israelites Went Down To Egypt 2238 (1948+100+60+130)

    so extinct 458 years.

    maybe change the title to when Noah left the ark he took with him the mammoth.

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    Replies
    1. Well, they say it's *approximately* 4000 years. Could have been 3500!

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    2. getting closer.!

      https://io9.gizmodo.com/the-last-mammoths-died-out-just-3600-years-ago-but-th-5896262

      he last mammoths died out just 3600 years ago...but they should have survived



      Delete
  4. There is, of course, ample evidence for one, but not for the other...

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  5. I don't understand, that the last woolly mammoth get extinct 4000 years ago, didn't take away the fact that they roamed the earth for more than 40000 years, I don't think that emunah implies a denial of the reality, the Tiferes Israel could live with the dinosaurs and his maamar Drush Hachaym was praised by no less than the Maharsham.

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  6. I am curious because I have never been to the museum. Is the "biblical" part of the museum defined so loosely that it covers anything that existed in the time of the bible?

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    Replies
    1. No. In general the exhibits all actually tie in to the Bible. The mammoth tusk is an exception. But since it was donated to us, and it's an incredible thing (you have to see it and feel the weight of it!), I wanted to display it. It's part of the "Wonders of Nature" section.

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    2. Rabbi, what do you answer to a Charedi visitor who asks about dinosaurs or age of the earth?

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