Las Vegas student Hagop Maknissian Picks the Winner in Name the Mammoth Contest at Nevada State Museum PDF Print

The 11,000-year-old, 14-foot Columbian Mammoth at Nevada State Museum, Las Vegas, can finally wear a name tag. The superstar who greets visitors at the museum’s doorway is now called Christopher Columbian Mammoth, after a contest to provide the senior citizen with a real name.

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“It is a good way for people to remember that he’s a Columbian Mammoth, and not a Woolly Mammoth,” said the museum’s Stacy Irvin, who oversaw the contest.  “The name Christopher was actually submitted by three people. The museum held a drawing to randomly select one winner and Hagop Maknissian earned the honor. Maknissian is a 5th grade student in Mr. Hull’s class at Kathy L. Batterman Elementary School.  Also submitting the name were Steve Rowland, a paleontologist and professor at UNLV, and Gay Rollins, who submitted the name via Facebook.

“We had many people vote, some all the way from Syria,” Irvin said.  Max Hudson submitted the name Tule, and Dennis D'Inzeo suggested the name Morton. Finalists were invited to the museum to see the new plaque and take a behind-the-scenes tour of fossil collections Saturday, Nov. 10 at 1 p.m. As the winner, Maknissian will receive a Nevada State Museum membership and a plush mammoth, and a plaque with his name added to the exhibit.

The museum invited the public to suggest a name for its signature piece in celebration of National Fossil Day, Oct. 17. Voting was from Oct. 15 to 18.

“We’re hosting an exhibit from California’s San Bernardino County Museum highlighting their new research and discoveries in the Upper Las Vegas Wash,” said Museum Director Dennis McBride.  The museum also celebrated in October its first birthday in its new $51 million home on Valley View Boulevard at the Springs Preserve.

During the Pleistocene epoch that ended 11,700 years ago, the Columbian Mammoth was one of the largest prehistoric land mammals in the Americas and could be found grazing grasses and sedges in lower elevation temperate grasslands. The museum’s mammoth is a replica of the Huntington Mammoth, a specimen unearthed at an elevation of 9,000 feet in Utah's Manti-La-Sal National Forest on Aug. 8, 1988.

The museum is open Friday through Monday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.  Admission is free for members and those age 17 and under, and $9.95 for Nevada residents.