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The "Perry Mastodon" found near the East Branch of the DuPage River, just northeast of Lake Ellyn in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, a western suburb of Chicago.

The "Perry Mastodon" is a full-sized, adult mastodon skeleton unearthed in 1963 near Glen Ellyn, Illinois. It was discovered by a man named Marshal Erb, who was excavating a pond in the backyard of U.S. Federal District Court Judge Joseph Sam Perry. Dredging the pond, he came across a huge bone.

Realizing that what he had found was exceptional, he took it over to Wheaton College, where it was examined by Geology Department Chairman Dr. Donald Boardman. He judged it to be the fossilized bone of a proboscidean, a species of ancient elephant!

Upon further excavation, more bones were found, and Judge Perry gave the Wheaton College Geology department permission to excavate the find. It was then taken over to the Rush Studio in Chicago, where the mastodon skeleton was reassembled. Those bones that were missing were replaced by fiberglass replicas made from similar mastodon skeletons.

At Wheaton College, a new building, named Armerding Hall, was built to house the new mastodon exhibit, which was completed in 1971. The mastodon skeleton was completed and housed in a diorama setting in 1974, and it can be seen to this day. It is mounted on a rotating pedestal, which allows visitors to see both sides: the left side of the mastodon, where just the bones have been reassembled, and the right side, which has been given a fiberglass "skin" to give the viewer a realistic view of how the mastodon actually looked. Click here to see a complete slide show, hosted by Wheaton College.
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The "Precessional Cycle" is caused by the drag imposed upon Earth's rotation by the gravitational pull of the Sun, Moon, and planets. It is manifest in a slow changing of the Pole Star over a period of approximately 26,000 years. It also results in the slow movement of the constellations relative to the Vernal Equinox (explained below).

"Precession" is an astronomical term that refers to the slight "wobble" in Earth's rotation brought on by the gravitational pull of the Sun, Moon, and planets. This small but significant pull causes the stars to change their apparent positions relative to Earth by 1 degree every seventy-two years, rotating completely once every 26,000 years.

As a result of this gradual rotation of the night sky, the constellations appear to move over one "house", every 2,100 years. This change is measured relative to what is called the "Vernal Equinox", or the first day of spring, when days and nights are of equal length. As the night sky turns into dawn on the Vernal Equinox, the last constellation to be seen in the eastern sky before the sun rises determines what "age" we are in.

Since around 0 a.d. we have been in the "Age of Pisces", where Pisces has been the last constellation seen in the east before dawn on the Vernal Equinox. However, over the past 2,000 years the position of the Vernal Equinox has gradually changed, due to precession, the constellation of Aquarius will soon mark the dawn of the first day of spring, and we will have entered the "Age of Aquarius".
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The "Princess Mound", 1/4 mile northwest of the primary mound in the Aztalan acropolis

"Princess Mound" is located near the Aztalan mounds near Lake Mills, Wisconsin, (covered later in this issue). It derives its name from the Indian princess that was found buried within, some years after its discovery and classification as one of the Aztalan mounds. A church had been built only a few feet away from the mound and, apparently, the church was abandoned after it was realized that it had been built on Indian burial ground. A small museum now stands nearby Princess mound, a museum which includes numerous interesting artifacts, mostly from the settlement period in southern Wisconsin.
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The "White Pyramid", located in the Qin Ling Shan mountains, near the city of Xi'an, China.

China has its own unique collection of ancient pyramidal structures, in sizes rivaling that of the Great Pyramid of Giza. However, the pyramids are constructed more like the stepped pyramids found in Central and South America. This has given rise to speculation that there was some intercultural contact between the Americas and Asia at some time in the distant past. There are over ninety pyramids scattered around China, and viewing them is next to impossible, thanks to the repressive Chinese government. Hopefully, liberalization in Chinese government policies will allow tourism to these neglected monuments.
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