Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Alaska RV Tour - Visit to the Beringia Museum, Whitehorse

After we were done looking at the SS Klondike, we loaded back up into Spike’s van and he drove us over to the Beringia Museum. Also run by Parks Canada, this museum focuses on the Beringia land mass and the animals and humans that likely traveled to and from Asia and North America using the “bridge” formed during the last ice age. 

First, a Park guide spoke to us, and by showing us a huge globe, he helped us understand how much the continents have changed over the millennium. He explained that there’s no proof of one way traffic across the land bridge and that likely animals and humans traveled back and forth between the two continents.

He told us scientists generally agree that the prehistoric horse moved from North America to Asia, then went extinct in North America and that humans, mammoths and other large prehistoric mammal such as the giant bison, the giant beaver and saber-tooth cats came to this continent from Asia.

Next a woman guide took us into the auditorium and gave us a presentation on the tools early humans would have used for hunting. She talked about spears and explained how early hunters designed their spears so the shaft would detach and they wouldn’t lose the whole weapon when an injured animal ran off with it. She also demonstrated a tool the hunters used to extend the range and increase the accuracy of their spears. Finally she led us all outside to where some targets were set up so anyone who wanted could try their hand at throwing a spear at a woolly mammoth. Of course, all the kids jumped right in— Zach, Weston, Sophie and Roxie. Ultimately, Weston proved to be the most handy with his spear.

Seeing the fun the kids were having, several of the men in the group decided to give it a go. I recall John Kurz, John Bland, Tim Woolums and Neil Brown all trying to show their women they could be good providers! 

After some peer pressure from the others, I found myself standing up front with a spear in my hand. Sophie patiently showed me how to hold the spear and the launching tool. Good thing I’ll never have to kill something with a spear! Despite my best effort, I forgot to let go of the spear and everything landed with a clatter about 6 feet in front of me.  Oh well, I’d probably do better if I was hungry and really in truly needed to bring the beast down…at least I hope so!

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