Woolly mammoth has long fascinated scientists, and some even think. But there is much more we do not know about animal parodermas.
In a new study published in Quaternary Science Reviews, researchers studied isotopic compositions of carbon, nitrogen, sulfur and strontium in a set of bones and teeth of a mammoth, aged 40,000 to 4,000 years from northern Siberia, Alaska, Yukon Island. and Wrangel. They aimed to study any possible changes in the mammoth diet and habitat and to look for signs of disturbance to their environment. Scientists have found that the collagen and carbon dioxide isotope composition of mammoths on Wrangel Island did not change when the climate warmed about 10,000 years ago, and they remained unchanged until the mammoths died during seemingly stable living conditions.
Woolly mammoths in the Ukrainian-Russian plains died about 15,000 years ago, and those located on St. Paul's Island in Alaska died about 6,000 years ago. The last of these mammoths underwent significant changes in their isotopic composition, indicating a shift in their environment shortly before they died there. Mammoths on Wrangel Island met their deaths about 4,000 years ago.
The researchers also found that carbon isotope values showed the difference between fats and carbohydrates in the mammoth diets of Wrangel Island and their Siberian counterparts.
"We believe this reflects the propensity of Siberian mammoths to rely on their fat reserves to survive through the extremely harsh winters of the Ice Age, whereas Wrangel's mammoths living in m & # 39; m conditions were simply unnecessary," – said Laura Arpe of the Finnish Museum of Natural History, University of Helsinki, in a press release. Arpe led the team of researchers.
Mammoth bones in Vrange Island had levels of sulfur and strontium, suggesting a stronger weathering of the bedrock towards the end of the population that could have affected the quality of mammoth drinking water, the study adds.
Researchers believe that may have eventually led to the deaths of mammoths on Wrangel Island, some short-lived events, including extreme weather, such as snow in the snow, which would make it too icy for mammoths to find enough food . This may have led to a population decline and, ultimately, extinction.
Another potential factor is the spread of people. The earliest evidence of humans on the island dates back several hundred years after the last mammoth bone. We are unlikely to find evidence that humans hunted mammoths in Wrangel Island, the researchers say, but we cannot rule out the possibility that they may have played a role in their extinction.