Keys to unlock Western New York's prehistoric past are currently on display at the Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History.

Among the archaeological finds are two 75-pound Columbian mammoth tusks that were unearthed in the Southern Tier community of Randolph in the 1930s. Workers digging a fish hatchery discovered the fossils, which are an estimated 13,000 years old.

Other portions of the exhibit are on loan from Mercyhurst College and include specimens native to Western New York when the area was hot and humid.

That's right. New York state was once tropical!

"360 million years ago, this part of the earth's crust was actually south of the equator. It was a tropical area, and we were actually at the bottom of a shallow, tropical saltwater sea," said Mark Baldwin, Director of Education at the Roger Tory Peterson Institute.

For more information on the exhibit, visit