Florida Museum Science Sunday presentation focuses on Florida’s last Ice Age

October 29th, 2008

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Mammoths, saber cats and prehistoric Floridians will come to life at 2:30 p.m. Sunday at the Florida Museum of Natural History during a presentation on Florida’s last Ice Age.

University of Florida professor emeritus of anthropology and Florida Museum curator emeritus of archaeology Barbara Purdy will discuss the debate over how early people and animals co-existed in Florida and how emerging research techniques and instruments could be used to solve this mystery.

Human remains, artifacts and butchered bones provide evidence that people lived on the Florida peninsula during the last Ice Age more than 13,000 years ago. These early Floridians, also called Paleoamericans, hunted animals such as mammoths, mastodons, tapirs, camels and saber cats among an abundance of plants and trees. However, as the climate rapidly warmed the lifestyle of people and animals alike changed almost overnight and led to the extinction of many species.

Purdy earned her doctorate in anthropology and geology from UF before joining UF’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences faculty in 1970. She has conducted archaeological field projects focusing on ancient stone technology and the archaeology of wetlands.

Although Purdy retired from teaching in 1992, she has remained active in field research and recently published a book titled “Florida’s People During the Last Ice Age.”

She will sign copies of her latest book after the discussion, which is part of the Florida Museum’s Science Sundays series. The presentation is free and open to the public. Call (352) 273-2064 for more information.

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Writer: Kelly Donovan
Media contact: Paul Ramey, 352-273-2054, pramey@flmnh.ufl.edu