The tumultuous life of a 17,000-year-old woolly mammoth told by its tusks

Was the woolly mammoth a great traveler? For the first time, researchers are able to answer this question by providing a logbook of the movements of an individual throughout the 28 years of his life.

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The remains of a 17,000-year-old woolly mammoth have been unearthed at the North Slope of Alaska, beyond the circle Arctic. The authors of a study published in the journal Science were able to reconstruct the movements of the animal throughout its life.

Mammoth tusks make exceptional environmental records because every day from birth to death a growth streak is added to them. This streak contains So, for example, copper (Cu) and copper ion … “data-image =” d / 74d6f5bda2_92001_element-Chimique.jpg “data-url =” “data-more =” Read more “>chemical elements which are characteristic of the diet and therefore of the environment in which the individual found himself.

Organizations capable of providing such recordings with this resolution are rare.

Organizations capable of providing such records with this resolution are rare (see The body of a mollusk is subdivided into three parts: the head, the foot and the visceral mass. The head concentrates the sensory organs. The foot … “data-image =” https: // cdn / buildsv6 / images / midioriginal / c / a / 1 / ca14d8a755_42056_flabelinejpg.jpg “data-url =” 2331 / “data-more =” Read more “>mollusks bivalves and sclerochronology), the analysis of the structures they develop is therefore an incredible opportunity to understand the past environment and theecology some change.

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The authors of the study first cut the tusk of the mammoth, which measures about six feet, lengthwise and took nearly 400,000 samples from its surface to analyze isotopes, in particular of the General
Symbol: Sr Atomic number: 38 Electrons per energy level: 2, 8, 18, 8, 2 Atomic mass: 87.62 uMost isotopes … “data-image =” buildsv6 / images / midioriginal / 0 / f / 2 / 0f271f7f56_73412_strontiumccwiki.jpg “data-url =” “data-more =” Read more “>strontium and oxygen, throughout the life of the animal.

The authors suspected large-scale movements of the mammoth. However, they could not know which areas of Alaska corresponded to the isotopic values ​​collected without a prior reference map. They therefore analyzed the isotopes in the teeth of hundreds of small non-migratory Alaskan rodents present in museum collections. They were thus able to establish a link between isotopic values ​​and specific areas of Alaska.

The researchers then modeled the mammoth’s most likely migration routes, including taking geographic barriers into account, to determine its movements.

A very great traveler

The research team concludes that in 28 years, how far the mammoth traveled in Alaska is almost twice the circumference of the Earth! One of the study’s authors and researcher at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Matthew Wooller, explains that the mammoth has visited several remote places in Alaska, which is impressive when one consider the area of ​​this area (over 1.5 million square kilometers). The author is not, however, able to say whether the mammoth made seasonal migrations or whether it moved based on other factors.

L’Mammoth DNA determined that the individual was a male and that he was part of of the last representatives of his species on mainland Alaska. The isotopic changes in his defense around the age of 15 could also coincide with his departure from the herd, as is the case with the modern elephants. The isotope peak of General
Symbol: N Atomic number: 7 Electrons per energy level: 2.5 Atomic mass: 14.007 uIsotopes … “data-image =” /a/57a531d2d3_50012051_suprazote.jpg “data-url =”ées-13578/ “data-more =” Read more “>azote which was finally detected during the last winter of his life determines that this woolly mammoth starved to death.

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