Just a cool find about the Steppe Mammoths discovery.
"Skeleton of almost complete beast discovered on banks of Lena River close to Yakutsk.
Skeleton of almost complete beast discovered on banks of Lena River close to Yakutsk.
Scientists are delighted at the discovery of a virtually full skeleton preserved in permafrost. Picture: Academy of Sciences Republic of Sakha
It is the second major find of a steppe mammoth - the largest-ever elephant and trunked mammoth - in Russia this summer, and its tusks were each 2.5 metres in length, with the pair weighting 150 kilograms.
Scientists are delighted at the discovery of a virtually full skeleton preserved in permafrost; however, the ancient remains, believed to date from the Middle Pleistocene stage, do not include soft tissue.
Yevgeny Maschenko, senior researcher of the Mammal Laboratory, Institute of Palaeontology, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, said: 'The skeleton was buried in an anatomical position. Almost every bone was excavated - even small bones from the lower parts of all legs were there. The only missing part was right hind leg, which we think could have been torn during the mammoth's life time.
Some pelvis bones were gnawed by predators. We suppose that this was a very ancient animal that lived and died more than 100,000 years ago, and that it was partly frozen from the moment of the death.
Steppe mammoth in Yakutia
Steppe mammoth in Yakutia
The steppe mammoth was discovered by a family from Nizhniy Bestyakh village, some 30 km away from Yakutsk. Picture: The Siberian Times
The soil and sand around it thawed and froze again, burying it once more, and cocooning the skeleton for many millennia. 'Then the soil thawed, and froze again, so the mammoth was re-buried in the soil and sand that it was found,' he said.
'It was a male steppe mammoth, aged approximately 45 years, not too big. His skeleton is slightly over three metres. The mammoth has huge tusks, each of them about 18 cm in diameter, and each weighing 75 kilograms.' In length were originally around 2.5 metres.
The animals were shorter in length but taller in height than the woolly mammoth, the remains of which are common in this part of Siberia, known as the Sakha Republic, or Yakutia, the coldest region in the Russian Federation.
'Scientists believe they were taller than four metres, and could weigh nearly ten tons,' he said. 'They were only partly-covered with hair, as the climate then was warm and dry, so there was no need to adjust to lower temperatures. We must study the site with geologists. We have taken samples of soil and rocks.
Steppe mammoth in Yakutia
'The skeleton was buried in an anatomical position. Almost every bone was excavated - even small bones from the lower parts of all legs were there.' Picture: Academy of Sciences Republic of Sakha
'We also rinsed soil at the spot and found a lot of frozen seeds, plants, fruit and insects. This allows us to build a picture of what conditions this steppe mammoths lived in. It was also interesting to discover excrements of ground squirrel, deer, horse, rhinoceros and woolly mammoth right around the spot where the mammoth was found.'
Scientists will now seek to precisely date the find to see if it matches their theory that it dates to the mid-Pleistocene stage which lasted from 781,000 to 126,000 years ago.
Dr Albert Protopopov, head of the Department of Mammoth Fauna Studies, in Yakutsk, said: 'Unlike the late Pleistocene stage, the mid-Pleistocene hasn't been studied in such depth. There is an assumption that the climate was warm in Yakutia then. Yet the skeleton of the steppe mammoth was buried in permafrost alongside bones of animals, like a roe, which was believed to inhabit this area later. So how does this fit with the warm climate hypothesis? We are hoping to start more thorough research next year, perhaps involving a field camp.'
Scientists in Perm region this year also announced a find of a more or less full skeleton of a steppe mammoth. Around 50 bones were pulled out from a site, and the experts believe they will find the rest next summer in a new dig.
'It was rather a big male, with a body height of about four metres,' said Tatiana Vostrikova, head of the expedition and deputy director of Perm Museum of Local History. We have found parts of the tusks, occipital bones, hyoid bone fragments, a fragment of the right scapula, ribs, vertebrae, jaw, teeth and more.'
An almost complete skeleton of a steppe mammoth was discovered in 1996 in Kikinda, Serbia. Around 90% of its bone mass was preserved, but missing were this female's feet and scapulas. A male was found in 1990 in West Runton, eastern England, which was about 85% intact, missing the upper part of its skull."
Just some stuff i found about Cougar attacks on Bears, Bison and Humans. I don't know if it is reliable or not, but oh well.
"Outdoorsmen have often described the cougar (Puma concolor) as a cowardly animal This accusation of cowardice is unfair and unfounded. Teddy Roosevelt is one of the more famous outdoorsmen to have described the cougar as a coward, yet he saw cougars on only 2 occasions. Therefore, Teddy was no cougar expert. But he was a sadistic hunter who slaughtered thousands of animals, using high-powered rifles from a safe distance while accompanied by packs of dogs and other hunters on horseback. I can’t understand why the cougar has earned such an inaccurate reputation. Maybe it is because the cat seeks refuge in trees when pursued by a pack of dogs. Most unarmed men, if pursued by a pack of dogs, would also climb a tree to escape injury. It’s understandable that a cougar would choose to avoid getting bitten.
Actually, cougars are the opposite of cowardly–they are 1 of the few solitary predators in the world that regularly attacks prey larger than itself. Wolves and lions attack larger prey but do so in groups. Tigers usually outweigh the animals they kill. But cougars often attack elk and deer that are more than 3 times their size. In his book, Cougar!, Harold Danz compiled incidents of cougars attacking bears, bison, and the most monstrous animal that ever evolved…Homo sapiens.
Above is a youtube video of a cougar attacking a much larger elk.
Major John Cremony of the U.S. Boundary Commission was hunting cougars near Fort Sumner, New Mexico circa 1850. Along with his Apache guides, they witnessed a large cougar attack and kill a medium-sized black bear by clawing through to the bruin’s vital organs. The cougar dragged the bear carcass away and buried it. An Apache then shot and killed the cougar.
Mynhee Barhydt built a cabin in the Bear Swamp near Saratoga, New York circa 1800. He saw a black bear discover a cougar’s den. The bear killed the kittens. The mother cougar returned and attacked the bear. During the struggle which lasted an hour, both bear and cougar fell into a ravine and were killed. Two miners in Idaho witnessed a similar incident when a mother cougar defended her kittens from a grizzly bear. Both were killed in a fall off a cliff. Upon close examination, it appeared as if the bear had suffered the more serious injuries during the fight…its belly was “ripped to ribbons.”
Bison weigh almost 10 times more than a cougar, yet there are 2 accounts of cougar attacks on bison. In western Arkansas John Hunter was weathering a bison stampede by standing behind a tree. A cougar had caused the stampede when it jumped on the back of a bison. Hunter saw the “huge panther” chewing on the bison’s neck muscles. He shot the cougar and eventually killed it with another shot. Daniel Boone also saw a cougar riding the back of a bison in Kentucky. He too shot the cougar, possibly saving that particular bison.
Mr. Danz found documented evidence of 33 fatal cougar attacks on humans and 122 nonfatal attacks. Since this book was published in 1999, there have been an additional 4 fatal attacks. During the early 1800s before cougars were extirpated from the region, there were several fatal cougar attacks in southeastern North America. Near Vicksburg, Mississippi, a cougar entered a cabin and killed a man who was sick in bed. His brother returned from chopping wood and rushed to his defense. The cougar killed him too. In northeastern Lousiana, a cougar jumped from a tree and killed an Indian hunting guide. Near the Georgia/Florida border a slave, a man of “colossal strength,” took a shortcut through the woods to visit a girlfriend on a neighboring plantation. When he failed to return, the owner thought he had run away, but upon searching, he found him dead along with a cougar that the slave had stabbed several times with a long knife. Another slave working on a railroad in Mississippi was also killed by a cougar. A cougar snatched and ate a baby in the big thicket region of east Texas prior to 1906. A cougar attacked Nathan Bedford Forrest’s mom in 1834. The horse reared and broke off this nonfatal attack. The future Civil War General later treed the cat with his dogs and shot it.
Nell Hamm sits with her husband Jim Hamm in the intensive care unit at Mad River Hospital in Arcata, Calif., Thursday, Jan. 25, 2007, the day after he was attacked by a mountain lion at Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. State wildlife officials credited his wife with saving her 70-year-old husband's life by clubbing a mountain lion that had his head gripped in its jaws until the animal let go. (AP Photo/Times Standard, Mark McKenna) ** MAGS OUT MANDATORY CREDIT** Photo: Mark McKenna"
This man was attacked by a Cougar, he got away with his life as his wife fended of the Cougar with a log.
"When a cougar attacks a human, it is viewing that person as food. In 1991 Scott Lancaster, a high school senior, went for a jog on a track not far from the Arapahoe National Forest in Idaho. A cougar killed him and ate his heart, liver, kidneys, and face–the same parts the big cat favors from its usual prey, deer. It may be disconcerting to some, but as far as mother nature is concerned, humans are just part of the food chain.
Indians have lived in North America for at least 15,000 years. Most of their history is entirely unrecorded. There is no telling how many of them were killed and eaten by cougars and other large American carnivores. Nevertheless, humans waged war on all of them and emerged victorious."
The woolly mammoth went extinct at the end of the last ice age thousands of years ago, a victim of warming weather and hunting by prehistoric humans. But the mammoth — or rather something very much like it — may be resurrected if Dr. George Church has his way.
The Harvard geneticist started with a close relative, the Asian elephant, and is using a genetic engineering tool known as CRISPR in an effort to create a mammoth-like elephant capable of thriving in cold regions.
It's not a vanity project. Church thinks reintroducing the mammoth-like animal into parts the tundra could help curb climate change.
"By allowing cold resistant elephants or mammoths to repopulate the tundra," Church says, "they will punch down the snow in wintertime allowing cold air to come in, and in the summertime they'll knock down trees, which are very absorbent." This will help the dead grass start to grow, he explains, and slow the release of carbon from the soil into the atmosphere.
"When you simulate this with a real ecosystem in Siberia," he says, "the temperature drop is 20 degrees, which is really big deal in terms of delaying the release of carbon by melting."
So far Church's team has edited 15 key genes that will be needed to resurrect the mammoth, and he says they're well on the way to editing another 30-odd of the essential genes. Sounds like a mammoth effort.
Its hard to imagine this, but there once was woolly mammoth roaming the countrysides of Lincolnshire (Lincolnshire is a county on the east-side of England).
One of the best fossil finds in Lincolnshire was a tusks. The tusk is currently on display at the National World Centre in Whisby Nature Park.
The last ever mammoths in Europe supposedly died out 10,000 years ago. With the last mammoths in Britain dying out 14,000 years ago. The gravel pits of Whisby Nature Park have been excavated since the 1930s and work will be continuing for years to come.
The story starts with a man who was only known as "Dave" who worked on the excavations that were used to try and save artefacts before they were shipped of to the crusher. The tusk was later found in storage in a box, with no details explaining where it came from.
"It was excavated a long time ago. But there's no provenance because there was no label with it"
"There's a huge amount of history that has just been passed down verbally and you know what happens when things get past down verbally."
"But i'am led to believe it has come from a gravel pit in Lincolnshire at least."
Says Whisby warden for the Lincolnshire Wildlife trust.
For many years we have always believed that Woolly Mammoths are brown in colour. Thanks to the discovery of some beautifully preserved specimens many of them babies or juveniles (Dima, Lyuba and Yuka for example), palaeontologists have a much better idea of the genome of Woolly Mammoths.
By looking at the DNA of Woolly Mammoths scientests have begun to show that Woolly Mammoths could of had hair variation similar to Humans, having red (ginger), brunettes and possible blonde Mammoths.
Woolly Mammoths coats are specially designed for surviving harsh arctic weather. The coat makes up of 2 layers. The first layer contains long, guard hairs that are 6x thicker than human hair. This coat could grow to 1m when a Mammoth is fully-grown. The coat is designed to trap air, helping the Mammoth keep warm, the coat is similar to that of extant Musk-Ox another arctic animal. The second coat (inner coat/layer) consisted of hairs much shorter, softer and thinner hairs. Its purpose was the same as the first coat, to insulate the animal from freezing. There is a possibility this coat could of melted during spring, producing a much lighter summer coat.
The colour of the hairy coat could of varied as well, according the the genome researchers. There were brown Wooly Mammoths found, but there were some individuals that were reddish/orange is colour, other Mammoths were found to be a strawberry blonde colour. So if you were to travel back several thousand year and observe a herd of Mammoths, chances are they wouldn't all be brown in colour.
If you observe Mammoth cave-paintings there are a variety of different colours used for the Mammoths coat. This is another reason to suggest they did have a colour variation.
The hair of a strawberry blonde Mammoth.
Many pleistocene fossil sights contain the remains of many Mammoths, some of the sights represent the mass death of entire herds. These assumelages are evidence of intense predation by Humans and used to reconstruct Mammoth population dynamics. Anyhow, these interpretations continue controversial due to the taphonomic context of many sites are still debated. To reconstruct the taphonomic setting of each site and the movement patterns of mammoths among sites, you have to analyse carbon, oxygen, and strontium isotope ratios in mammoth tooth enamel. The carbon isotopes of fossils vary with diet and local vegetation, oxygen isotopes vary with local climate, and strontium isotopes vary with local soil chemistry.
If Pleistocene mammoths traveled together in small family groups, then mammoths from sites that represent family groups should have lower isotopic variability than mammoths from sites containing unrelated individuals. Low levels of carbon isotope variability were found to be the most diagnostic signal of herd/family group association. Although the variability of oxygen and strontium isotope ratios proved less useful for identifying family group assemblages, these signals did provide information about the movement patterns of individuals among different sites. High levels of variability in each of the isotope systems at Clovis sites suggest that all of the sites examined represent time-averaged accumulations of unrelated individuals, rather than the mass deaths of family groups.
In addition, analyses of the mean isotope values of Clovis mammoths show that although most mammoths from Blackwater and Miami (2 of the fossil sites) had similar values, the values of Dent mammoths were significantly different. This demonstrates that the Dent mammoths exist to a separate population and suggests that Clovis mammoths did not routinely commence long distance (600 km) migrations.
Despite their vulnerable canines, prominent muscle attachment scars on sabertooth limb bones suggest the cat was powerfully built. Saber-toothed cats may have used their muscular arms to immobilize prey and protect their teeth from fracture, she explained.
To estimate how strong sabertooth forelimbs were relative to other cats, the researchers used x-rays to measure the cross-sectional dimensions of the upper arm and leg bones of fossils recovered from the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles. They also measured the limb bones of 28 cat species living today -- ranging in size from the 6-pound margay to the 600-pound tiger -- as well as the extinct American lion, the largest conical-toothed cat that ever lived.
The researchers used their cross-sectional measurements to estimate bone strength and rigidity for each species. When they plotted rigidity against length for the 30 species in their study, species with longer limbs generally had stronger bones. But the data for the saber-toothed cat fell well outside the normal range --while their leg bones scaled to size, their arm bones were exceptionally thick for their length.
"When I looked at the arm bones, Smilodon fatalis was way out in left field," said Meachen-Samuels.
Sabertooth arm bones were not only larger in diameter than other cats, they also had thicker cortical bone, the dense outer layer that makes bones strong and stiff. Thicker cortical bone is consistent with the idea that sabertooth forelimbs were under greater stress than would be expected for cats their size, Meachen-Samuels explained. Just like weight-bearing exercise remodels our bones and improves bone density over time, the repeated strain of grappling with prey may have resulted in thicker and stronger arm bones in saber-toothed cats.
"As muscles pull on bones, bones respond by getting stronger," said Meachen-Samuels. "Because saber-toothed cats had thicker arm bones we think they must have used their forelimbs more than other cats did."
"The findings give us new information about how strong their forelimbs were and how they were built," she added. "This is the first study to look inside sabertooth arm bones to see exactly how much stress and strain they could handle."
These X-Ray images show cross-sectional dimensions of the upper arm bone of a Jaguar (A and B) compared to a Saber-Toothed Cat (C and D)
This is a chunk of a Pleistocene Brown Bear cranial fragment.
Here are where Pleistocene Brown Bears fossils have been found. One was found in Ontario which was a skull which was dated 11 700 Bp, another Brown Bear fossil was found in Woodbridge which was a Brown Bear Humerus, the 3rd one was found in Trou Otis which was a Brown Bear skull. The last one was Gosselin San-pit (Saint Nicolas)
Here is the third metatarsal bone of 3 Bears, far left is a Black Bear, middle is a Pleistocene Brown Bear, and far right is a modern Brown Bear. Notice there is rough patches of arthritic bone on the Pleistocene Brown Bear and that its smaller than the modern Brown Bears
Tooth eruption and wear is usually used to predict the age of an Elephant and this system can also be used to predict the age of a Mammoth. Unfortunately it has not been used on a Mammoth tooth due to there being differences in wear rates for Mammoths when compared to African Elephants. Unfortunately the initiation of tooth mineralization hasn't been studied well in African Elephant foetuses. The average length of an African Elephant foetus is roughly 21cm and using evidence you could estimate the metal age to be 192 days. A mandible from a 9.5cm African Elephant foetus that corresponded to a metal age of around 140 days, but the amount of mineralization sadly wasn't mentioned. Mineralised-tissue occurs in the deciduous tusk. The crown formation in the deciduous tusk is finished after 16 months.
The dentin grows by accretion and periodic growth appear at distinct temporal scales. In Mammoths however, first oder growth increments occur each year in periodicity. Second-order increments have a period of roughly 7 days, and third-order increments happen daily. Applying these growth increments you could then predict the period of time over which a tooth would be formed.
Teeth do not begin to mineralize at conception, so the period of prenatal dentin accretion in a Mammoth tooth does not directly give us the gestation period of mammoths. By itself, the period of prenatal dentin accretion gives an underestimate of gestation length. In combination with comparative data from elephants, it permits estimation of relative gestation length. For example, African elephants have a prenatal mineralization period of about 15 months 17 months (for initiation between 140 and 192 days of gestation). If we observe a similar prenatal mineralization period in Mammoths, we could infer that their gestation lengths were probably similar.
Finding the gestation period of Mammoth requires looking at the gestation period of Elephants. African Elephants tend to have a gestation period of 650 days (21 months) and it isn't any different in captive African Elephants, its does not differ much in Asian Elephants as their gestation period is roughly 660 days. Giving the gestation periods of modern-day Elephants you could imagine Mammoths gestation periods shouldn't be any different, but for now there is no evidence to suggest its similar.
The season of birth will depend on the gestation length and season of conception, conception tends to occur year-round in African Elephants but there can be seasonal peaks (like the rainy season) when productivity is much higher. Majority of conceptions carried to term happened following seasonal peaks in prime productivity and given the 650 day gestation, births happen closer to the onset of seasonal increases in primary production. Mammoths would of been likely similar but potentially more extreme seasonal abnormality in nutrients availability and could of restrained the birth of calves to correspond with the start of the growing season. If we consider that Mammoths alike Elephants had condition dependent estrus, the greatest time for breeding could of been from August to October like that of Muskoxen and Caribou other Tundra animals. If you then assume the gestation period was similar to that of extant Elephants and that births would of been timed just before the growing season, you could predict that the gestation period would of been roughly 20 months.