The Ice Age hits San Diego - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

The Ice Age hits San Diego

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - The calendar says it's 2013, but take one step inside the San Diego Natural History Museum and you'll feel like you are in the Ice Age.

The Mammoths and Mastodons: Titans of the Ice Age exhibit opens to the public on Thursday, but we have a first look.

"You just have to stop and think, this is a messenger from the past," curator Tom Demere said.

They're messengers that continue to fascinate modern man. These majestic creatures weighed as much as eight tons and bore tusks up to 16 feet long, and were the evolutionary ancestors of the Indian elephant.

This new exhibit, which opens to the public on July 4, gives visitors a chance to get up close and personal with what remains of this now vanished world.

"People are fascinated by the fact that these animals once lived here, but they're extinct. They're mysterious in the fact their remains are buried," Demere said.

Also a mystery is exactly why they became extinct. Curator Tom Demere theorizes that early human hunters and climate change played significant roles.

"We had an Ice Age, came out of Ice Age into the modern age of global warming, part of the reason they became extinct," Demere said.

But the fascination with this paleontological past lives on.

"That's pretty amazing when you think about it. These animals actually lived here in San Diego not that long ago," Demere said.

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