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PSU Professor Finds Wooly Mammoth Tooth

PLYMOUTH — Nearly ten years ago, PSU biology professor Fred Prince was fly-fishing on a remote stream in Campton, when a strange object caught his eye in the streamside gravel. He picked up the odd, laminated structure and turned it over and over in the bright sunlight. He knew it was unique, but had no idea what it was.

"I threw it away, I just dropped it back into the gravel," Prince recalls. "It was ten years after the fact when I realized what I had done."

This past January he acquired a wooly mammoth molar and a partial molar from an acquaintance in The Netherlands, specimens dredged up in the North Sea.

"As soon as I put that partial molar in my hand I was back ten years ago beside that stream," Prince noted. "I felt sick knowing what I tossed aside."

But that mistake sparked an interest in Prince. He started researching the woolly mammoth, detailing the prehistoric mammal's anatomy, evolution and habitat. Now armed with the knowledge of how a mammoth molar was constructed, he vowed to find another one.

This past April, he climbed into his truck and headed back into the Upper Pemigewasett Valley.

"I told my wife, 'I'm going to go look for a mammoth molar,' and I found this in a decades-old gravel pit; it was the third place I looked," Prince said. "It was embedded into the surface of the ground, and I could see those contours on top. I know it's hard to believe, but that's what happened. I went out specifically to find a mammoth tooth and I did. So, with this second chance, I officially had the first New Hampshire mammoth find to go along with my unofficial find of years ago."

"You can tell it's a woolly mammoth because the black enamel thickness is only one millimeter," said Prince. "With the Columbian mammoth, so common in the western and central US, the enamel thickness is 2 to 2.5 millimeters."

Prince decided to send photos of the specimen to Dr. Larry Agenbroad, Director of The Mammoth Site in South Dakota, who confirmed it was from a woolly mammoth.

"He's been doing this for nearly 50 years, so I was really happy with his enthusiastic response," Prince noted.

After visual confirmation by Dr. Agenbroad, most of the specimen was sent to the Accelerator Mass Spectrometry lab at the University of Arizona for radiocarbon dating. Unfortunately the collagen was not preserved so the specimen could not be dated.

The woolly mammoth was about the size of a modern African elephant; a male woolly mammoth's shoulder height was 9 to 11 feet tall and weighed around 6 tons. The woolly mammoth, however, is more closely related to the Asian elephant. The last woolly mammoths went extinct about 11,000 years ago worldwide, with the exception of a small colony that survived on Wrangel Island until 4,000 years ago; their habitat was the mammoth steppe, a tundra-like area stretching from northern Eurasia to North America.

Mammoth remains are very rare in New England; they include a tooth and a tusk excavated near Mt. Holly, Vt. in 1848 during railroad construction and a partial skeleton found in 1959 near Scarborough, Maine. The closest finding to the Granite State was a tooth dredged from the sea in early 2013 near the Isles of Shoals, off Rye. Prince said he wouldn't be surprised if other people have found woolly mammoth fossils, but, like him, they didn't realize what they were holding.

"I wouldn't doubt there are people who have picked up something like this and did the same thing I did ten years ago. I think people have assumed some were here in New England, but there isn't much evidence, in part due to the acidity of our soil and in part likely a result of low population density," Prince added.

Prince, a 64 year-old Pennsylvania native, has worked at PSU since 1985. He continues to search for woolly mammoth fossils and is currently writing a research paper on this initial New Hampshire finding and his ideas on the changes in climate and vegetation across New England following the retreat of the ice at the end of the Pleistocene age. His other research interests are primarily about cell biology, including human muscle fibers, myelin development, steroid-cell structure and development and mitochondrial structure.

Last Updated on Thursday, 14 August 2014 09:24

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Dance to Make a Difference Raises Funds for Faith, Hope and Love Foundation

PLYMOUTH — Saturday was a day filled with Faith, Hope and Love. The evening started off with a spaghetti supper hosted by The Plymouth United Methodist Church, with a portion of the proceeds going to support the local Faith, Hope and Love Foundation. Current President Lara Gruner went to help serve those at the dinner and thank those who participated. Then only a half hour later located at Plymouth Regional High School New Hampshire's Dance Movement put on The 3rd Annual Dance to Make a Difference.
Over 30 dancers from all across New Hampshire came together over the past several months to perform 11 dances that evening. As the dancers graced the stage with their talent, board member Aimee Lee and President Lara Gruner helped spread information about the foundation. "We are so grateful for all of the dancers not only fundraising but also for them dancing tonight as positive role models for today's youth" stated Lee.
Suzanna Derynioski and Kelsey Piper, who directed the show. said they hope to have even more dancers next year. The event raised over $2,500.

Last Updated on Thursday, 14 August 2014 08:29

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Furniture masters return to the Castle in the Clouds


MOULTONBOROUGH -- Castle in the Clouds will again host the New Hampshire Furniture Masters on Sunday,  August 17 as they display and discuss their newly crafted works in traditional and contemporary styles.

The event, which takes place at the Castle in the Clouds Carriage House, includes a wine and crudités reception and presentations by these talented furniture makers. Admission is $10 per person. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.

The New Hampshire Furniture Masters Association was formed in 1993 to build public awareness and appreciation of New Hampshire's fine furniture makers. Each year, the organization showcases a select group of members' creations in a series of exhibitions and other events.

Castle in the Clouds is a not for profit organization owned and managed by the Castle Preservation Society and dedicated to the interpretation and preservation of the historic Thomas G. Plant Estate, celebrating its 100th year in 2014.

Castle in the Clouds is located off Route 171 (455 Old Mountain Road). Take Route 25 into Moultonborough, then south on Route 109 to Route 171. Use the Ossipee Park Road entrance.

For information about Castle in the Clouds visit the website at www.castleintheclouds.org or call 603-476-5900.

Last Updated on Thursday, 14 August 2014 08:17

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PSU adds Master of Science in Accounting

PLYMOUTH — Graduate business students at Plymouth State University have new programs to choose from this fall. The school has launched a Master of Science in Accounting and has added to its Masters of Business Administration with expanded programs in Healthcare Administration and International Business.

All three programs, says Director of Graduate Business Programs Jennifer Pinckney, can be completed through online instruction, though some individual courses are offered in Plymouth or at PSU's Concord site.

The three new graduate programs are available starting with the fall, 2014, term, which begins September 1. In addition, registrations for fall admission into PSU's undergraduate degree programs are being accepted through September 3. Some openings remain for undergraduate first-year and transfer students.

Pinckney says the MS in Accounting program offers specialized content to prepare students for licensing as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or certification as a Certified Management Accountant (CMA). She adds that PSU's program starts at a time when New Hampshire has changed requirements for obtaining the CPA license. While 120 college credit hours are required to take the CPA exam, equal to most undergraduate programs, licensure requires an additional credit 30 hours, similar to a master's degree.

"Given the change in state requirements for licensure, we wanted to provide professionals a unique program to explore accounting topics in more detail," Pinckney said.

The programs in Healthcare Administration and International Business both grew out of PSU's popular Masters of Business Administration program. Pinckney says the MBA in Healthcare Administration program is already the largest of PSU's graduate programs. The program attracts students from throughout the United States and from around the world. "We see hospital administrators, doctors, allied health professionals and careers changers all entering this program," she says, to better understand the business side of health care. The convenience of online instruction is a draw but Pinckney adds students note courses in ethics, finance and management as especially valuable in launching or furthering their careers.

In the International Business program, students dig deep into topics such as global finance, multinational marketing, and managing operations on a global level. Pinckney says PSU is leveraging its current international experience – including faculty members from throughout the world – to help equip employees at New Hampshire and New England firms to better compete in the global marketplace.

For more information about PSU graduate programs, visit plymouth.edu/graduate. To learn about applying for admission to the PSU undergraduate programs, visit plymouth.edu/admissions

Last Updated on Thursday, 14 August 2014 08:09

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