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Palaeontology

Mammoths survived until just 4,000 years ago

By T.K. Randall
October 10, 2019 · Comment icon 20 comments



Mammoths almost made it to modern times. Image Credit: CC BY 2.5 Public Library of Science
A population of woolly mammoths still roamed the Earth at the time the Egyptian pyramids were being built.
Perhaps the most recognizable of all extinct Ice Age mammals, the majestic woolly mammoth is often associated with a time long before modern human civilization started to appear on the scene.

Incredibly however, despite most mammoths disappearing between 15,000 and 10,000 years ago, a few isolated populations managed to hold on against all the odds.
Now according to a new study by an international team of scientists, the last remaining population of mammoths survived on Wrangel Island in the Arctic Ocean up until 4,000 years ago.

By examining the isotope compositions of carbon, nitrogen, sulfur and strontium from their bones, the researchers were able to determine that, unlike other isolated mammoth populations that died out due to environmental changes, the Wrangel Island mammoths may have instead succumbed to a sudden series of events - perhaps extreme weather conditions or an encroachment by human hunters.

"It's easy to imagine that the population, perhaps already weakened by genetic deterioration and drinking water quality issues could have succumbed after something like an extreme weather event," said study co-author Prof Herve Bocherens from the University of Tubingen.

Source: SciTech Daily | Comments (20)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #11 Posted by Mr.United_Nations 3 years ago
This has been known for years but I believe these were miniature mammoths? 
Comment icon #12 Posted by Jaded1 3 years ago
Yeah, a classic case of island dwarfism. I remember the 4000 year old date being mentioned some years ago but the news is probably being regurgitated due to the international research team's extinction scenario reconstruction (which is new).
Comment icon #13 Posted by RoofGardener 3 years ago
  A dwarf mammoth ? ROFL.. isn't that a contradiction in terms ?  
Comment icon #14 Posted by ThereWeAreThen 3 years ago
Scientists don't think they know everything. They read what the data tells them with a load of tests. They often admit they've got something wrong.
Comment icon #15 Posted by Roshman 3 years ago
Old news. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/last-wooly-mammoths-died-isolated-and-alone-180955208/
Comment icon #16 Posted by Hammerclaw 3 years ago
Wrangel Island was originally part of the Alaska purchase, but ceded back to Russia after the Russian Revolution.
Comment icon #17 Posted by jaylemurph 3 years ago
/Somebody/ never saw 10,000 BC[E].   —Jaylemurph 
Comment icon #18 Posted by jaylemurph 3 years ago
I think a more likely scenario is that you don’t understand what history /is/.    —Jaylemurph 
Comment icon #19 Posted by Carnoferox 3 years ago
Oh god not that movie. I could go on for days picking apart the inaccuracies!
Comment icon #20 Posted by Ell 3 years ago
Sorry. It must be in one of the many books in my room, but I fear any effort to find it will be in vain. May be one of these years It will accidentally end up in my hands again - unless I die before that happens ...


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