Humans first came to Colorado during the Ice Age summer, about 16,000 years ago. These early humans followed the megafauna they hunted for food. Megafauna, or large animals in Colorado included mammoth, camelops, mastedon, and giant bison. Paleo-Indians hunted these creatures with spears topped with thick flint, chert, jasper, or chalcedony heads called Clovis points.
As the earth warmed and the Ice Age receded, the large animals became extinct and humans refined their weapons and hunting techniques to adapt to new smaller game such as deer and rabbits. They also began to cultivate maize to supplement their diets. Due to prehistoric geologic changes that formed the Rocky Mountains along with various Ice Ages and tropical periods, modern day Colorado has one of the most diverse plant and animal ecosystems in the United States.
Since 2010, museum workers have uncovered 41 species of animals and 60 plants to date from the Ice Age Discovery site in Snowmass, including mammoths and mastadons. The plants found at the site revealed important information about prehistoric climates and the biogeographical history of Snowmass and the Rocky Mountains. This exciting discovery gives an important glimpse into alpine life during the Ice Age.