of the Lower Mississippi Valley

Giant Ground Sloth Claw in situ on a Mississippi River gravel barDuring the past several years Lonnie and Freida Looper of Greenville, Mississippi have collected over 500 fossil bones of Ice Age animals which lived in our loess area between 10,000 and 250,000 years ago. They were often accompanied by their son, Zachary Horne, who contributed many rare and exciting finds. These animals lived during the Rancholabrean Epoch which gets its name from the famous "Tar pits" locality in Los Angeles, California.

The family found these treasures by walking gravel bars in the Mississippi River bed during seasonal low water levels. All of the fossils were recovered between river mile markers 499 (near the town of Glen Allen, Mississippi) and 639 (a point on a line with Sherard and Clarksdale, Mississippi). Native and Early American artifacts are also present on the gravel bars.

A good day of fossil collectingIt is a good bet, since many of these fossils are in such good condition, that they probably eroded from our loess. This idea is also supported by the fact that these are mostly land animals. Similar fossils of this age are occasionally found in loess deposits, almost always by accident, by people moving earth, but amateur collectors can find mastodon teeth and other Ice Age antiquities by walking the streams and ravines in loess country.

The family's discoveries include possibly the two rarest Ice Age bones remaining in Mississippi, a great short-faced bear jaw and a manatee limb bone (see thumbnails). The giant bear is known from only 105 localities worldwide, and the manatee radius-ulna is described as "one of only two manatee elements ever found in the interior of the Ohio-Miss. River valley system". Their collection is fully documented, professionally preserved, digitally photographed, and inventoried.

The rarest of their finds are available as realistic looking, hand painted casts. A CD containing 92 images of 450 of the bones is also available. Information on buying these items can be obtained by emailing Lonnie Looper at civwarart@tecinfo.com Lonnie also sells Civil War replicas. You may be interested in his sites at  www.cwreplicas.com and  http://members.tecinfo.net/~llcivil.

Below are thumbnails of some of their findings:

Click on an image to view an enlargement.


Ancient Bison
Ancient Bison

giant ground sloth
Giant Ground Sloth


mastodon jaw
Mastodon Jaw


ancient bison
Bison Foot

giant ground sloth
Giant Ground Sloth


mastodon molars
Mastodon Molars

Short-Faced Bear
Short-Faced Bear

Black Bear
Black Bear

giant land tortoise
Gt. Land Tortoise


mastodon tusk
Mastodon Tusk

stag moose
Stag Moose

giant beaver
Giant Beaver

fossil horse


musk ox
Musk Ox



white-tailed deer
White-tailed Deer


Freida Looper
Freida Looper

Lonnie Looper
Lonnie Looper

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