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Scientists unravel the mystery of what the last mammoth died on a remote island in the atlantic Ocean and is only 4000 years ago.
Experts from the University of Helsinki and the University of Tübingen in Germany, and the Russian Academy of Sciences, have reconstructed the chain of events that led to the mammoths’ demise, on the Russian Island of Wrangel.
They are of the opinion that it is a combination of the isolated habitat, and in extreme weather conditions, as well as possibly the pre-historic man, doomed to become the last pocket of mammoth in the Arctic of the island.
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“During the last ice age, about 100,000 to 15,000 years ago, mammoths were widespread in the northern hemisphere, from Spain to Alaska,” they wrote in a statement. “Due to the warming of the earth, which began 15,000 years ago, areas in the North of Siberia and Alaska are shrinking. On Wrangel Island, and a number of mammoths had been cut off from the mainland by rising sea levels, and that the population survived for another 7,000 years.”
A mammoth tooth was discovered on Wrangel Island.
Scientists have studied the isotope composition of mammoth bones and teeth of the North, Siberia, and Alaska, the Yukon, and Wrangel Island, ranging from 40,000 to 4,000 years ago. In contrast, the remains from the other sites, the collagen carbon and nitrogen isotopes, of the Wrangel Island is not changing, despite the warming of the earth’s climate for 10,000 years.
“This result is in contrast with the findings of woolly mammoths, from the Ukrainian-Russian plains, which became extinct 15,000 years ago, and the mammoths of the Pc. Paul Island, Alaska, lost 5,600 years ago,” the researchers explained in a statement. In both cases, the last representatives of these groups showed any significant changes in their isotopic composition, with an indication of the changes in their environment long before they became locally extinct.”
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The Wrangel Island mammoths, however, seem to have suddenly passed away as a result of short-term events.
In the beginning of the last ice age, when mammoths roamed the Earth. Of Harmsworth History of the World, Volume 1, by Arthur Mee and J. A. Hammerton, & A. D. Innes, M. A.
(The Print Collector/Getty Images)
While they were in milder conditions than, say, their Siberian colleagues, the mammoths on Wrangel Island may have experienced changes in their drinking water. The researchers found the levels of sulfur and strontium that suggests the foundation may have changed, thus affecting the quality of the drinking water.
An extreme weather event, such as a combination of the rain and the snow that covers the ground with a thick layer of ice, it can also lead to mammoth destruction to prevent them from having access to food.
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“It’s easy for you to say that, in the population, perhaps already weakened by a genetic deterioration in the quality of the drinking water wouldn’t have given for something like an extreme weather event,” said professor Hervé Bocherens of the Senckenberg Center for Human Evolution and Palaeoenvironment, University of Tübingen, and co-author of the study.
A person may also have played a role in dooming the mammoths to extinction. “The earliest archaeological evidence of humans on Wrangel Island for a couple of hundred years after the most recent mammoth bone,” the scientists wrote in the statement. “The chances of finding evidence of humans hunting Wrangel Island mammoths, it is very, very small. Still, the human contribution to their extinction cannot be ruled out.”
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The researchers say the research has implications for the modern era, with special attention paid to the environmental and human risks for isolated populations of large mammals. The study is published in Quarternary Science Reviews.
The other mammoth discoveries that have been garnering attention. Earlier this year, a 12-year-old boy uncovered a woolly mammoth’s molar at the site of a resort community in the northeastern part of Ohio.
Last year, archaeologists in Austria have discovered a horrible dead spot” where the Stone Age people have butchered mammoths.
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In 2012, there has been an almost complete skeleton of a woolly mammoth that was found in France, much to the delight of the archaeologists. Woolly mammoth has been found, but are more common in Siberia, where the frozen remains were discovered on a number of occasions.
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The excavation of well-preserved mammoth remains, and with the advances in genetic research have led to a discussion of the long-extinct animal can be cloned. However, the code of ethics of the scientists about the potential “de-extinction” of species, are hotly debated, with critics saying that the funds would be better spent on the existing wildlife.
Fox News’ Willie James Inman, Joseph J. Kolb, and Chris Ciaccia, contributed to this article. Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers