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Mammoths in the News

 
 
littlek
 
Reply Sun 7 Sep, 2008 11:09 am
There are two BBC articles about mammoths today. One speaks about the last mammoths of the Eurasian steppes having come from North America. The article states that through DNA testing scientists have learned that North American mammoths crossed the land bridge to the steppes while the native Eurasian mammoths still lived. Soon(ish) after, the native mammoths died out, leaving the the NA mammoths to thrive for a while before they too died out (not so long ago, it seems).

More exciting news is that a missing link mammoth was discovered in France. The skull is intact and shows a link between the early browsing &trees and leaves) mammoths and the more recently extinct woolly mammoths which grazed on grasses.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7592317.stm
 
rosborne979
 
  2  
Reply Sun 7 Sep, 2008 03:29 pm
Did elephants originate in Europe/Africa or in the Americas? It seems like they've been crossing the arctic land bridge quite a few times.

littlek
 
  1  
Reply Sun 7 Sep, 2008 06:12 pm
@rosborne979,
Elephants as we know them are native to Africa and South Asia. I'm not sure where they originated.

edit: elephants and mammoths coexisted, came from the original elephants 5 mill. y.a.
0 Replies
 
littlek
 
  3  
Reply Sun 7 Sep, 2008 06:26 pm
@littlek,
http://www.sanparks.org/parks/kruger/elephants/images/elephant-evolution.jpg

The oldest fossils of the line have been found in Africa. But, they really got around!

http://www.sanparks.org/parks/kruger/elephants/images/elephant-around-world.jpg
gungasnake
 
  1  
Reply Sun 7 Sep, 2008 06:41 pm
@littlek,
There is reason to believe that a small number of mammoths might have survived until just after Europeans arrived in the New World and Indians got their hands on firearms for the first time.
0 Replies
 
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Sun 7 Sep, 2008 09:28 pm
@littlek,
Quote:
The oldest fossils of the line have been found in Africa. But, they really got around!

It's an impressive line. They successfully adapted to the entire planet. And in a relatively short period of time. Humans did the same thing. And we came out of Africa too. I wonder if there's something special about evolving in Africa which led to genetic adaptability.
0 Replies
 
dadpad
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Sep, 2008 02:28 am
http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=vlLIa8_pLpk&feature=related
0 Replies
 
littlek
 
  2  
Reply Mon 8 Sep, 2008 07:29 pm
gunga - What reason?

Ros, I had a well, duh moment while listening to Guns, Germs and Steel on CD. The point was that it is easier to move East<->West than North<->South because of climate. That makes the range of elephants even more impressive. When did we come out of Africa? Way more recently than elephants, yes?
gungasnake
 
  2  
Reply Mon 8 Sep, 2008 09:00 pm
@littlek,
In the late 1500s, if you were an English pirate preying on Spanish shipping in the Caribbean and your ship got sunk and if the Spanish caught you, you got to talk to the inquisition. The only other option was a 1200 mile hike on foot up the East coast back to New England and try to hitch a ride back to England.

One guy who did that when Elizabeth was queen of England wrote a book about his adventures and described what he called a shaggy elephant wandering into an Indian village and being chased back into the forest by Indians. The assumption is that as soon as Indians got their hands on firearms, they eliminated the remaining mammoths and that this happened in the decades just prior to English or French speaking settlers being there to learn about it.
farmerman
 
  2  
Reply Tue 9 Sep, 2008 07:13 pm
@gungasnake,
There were over a dozen species of the genus Mammuthus, 3 species were pygmy versions that were evolved separately by convergence They were located in areas temporally and geographically isolated (each species was on an island system that was originally connected to a mainland). The pygmy species were from varied times , separated by at least 100K years. The most recent pygmy mamoth to roam the grasslands was a teeny guy from the Wrangle Islands. C14 had dated the average date of death at about 2000 y BP +/- 187 yr.
THey had several tens of specimens and the dates vary within an error bar of about 250 years (with 2 outliers of over 500 years).
These guys lived during early civilization building . The Channel Island Mammoths (In the California straits) went extinct much earlier , and the Cyprus Pigmyies earlier still.
The fact that convergence occurs in similr environments in widely different locations asserts the common mechanisms in evolution, just like convergence of dissimilar plants continents apart ( new world cactus v African succulents) different families, similar appearances in species.

I believe that Lewis and Clark were told to look for mammoths because Jefferson had a collection of bones from peat bogs in New ENgland and Ny and Pa. He thought that , if these dead mammoths could be found in bone assemblages in peat bogs (he had no idea about the ages of the bogs), he could be assured that Mammoths still existed in the West. (He was wrong). Any Indian tales about "Chasing mammoths " back into the woods, may have been a tale from the social history of the Mandan since they had symbols of mammoths on their bark "scrip". No evidence of mammoths as contemporary with modern AMerinds was ever shown. However, its strongly evidenced that Paleo Indians enjoyed mammoth meat during the first couple thousand years of populating this hemisphere. THere are several glyphs on "Newspaper Rock" that could be mammoths.
gungasnake
 
  3  
Reply Wed 10 Sep, 2008 03:34 am
@farmerman,
Quote:
Any Indian tales about "Chasing mammoths " back into the woods, may have been a tale from the social history of the Mandan...


The white man in question claimed to have seen the mammoth himself. One version of the story:

http://www.mammothpublications.com/gpage.html

rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Sep, 2008 05:59 am
@gungasnake,
Quote:
The white man in question claimed to have seen the mammoth himself. One version of the story:

He should have held a news conference like those two guys who found the body of Bigfoot recently. Hearsay is much better than physical evidence any day.
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Sep, 2008 06:27 am
@gungasnake,
gungasnake wrote:

The white man in question claimed to have seen the mammoth himself. One version of the story:

http://www.mammothpublications.com/gpage.html


According to the story (published in Richard Hakluyt's The Principall Navigations, Voiages and Discoveries of the English nation, made by Sea or ouer Land
Quote:
Unwin derived his idea of elephants among the Indians from Herbert Wendt's erroneous description of 'plenty of documentary evidence' of mastodons among the Maya. Wendt even had the idea that the Maya ran around Central America using mastodons as beasts of burden. His understanding of this subject was just as coherent as his understanding of Ingram's journey: Wendt describes 'wanderings that lasted for years' and suggests of Ingram's companions (including those that turned themselves into the Spanish) that 'most of them disappeared as time went on, either starving to death, being killed by the natives or joining Red Indian tribes.' Clearly Wendt is not a dependable source for information about Central America.

from: David Ingram's Improbable Walk Across 16th-Century America




(The above mentioned Herbert Wendt was a German author of novels, children books and popular science books.)
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Sep, 2008 06:46 am
@Walter Hinteler,
Walter Hinteler wrote:
Richard Hakluyt's The Principall Navigations, Voiages and Discoveries of the English nation, made by Sea or ouer Land



http://i33.tinypic.com/qoskd1.jpg
http://i37.tinypic.com/2u9h4xf.jpg


If I had some spare time and would be more interested - I could look up the term "elephant".

But since the book is online, you can do it yourself, gunga:

The Kraus collection of Sir Francis Drake
0 Replies
 
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Sep, 2008 07:57 pm
Herbert Wendt's popular "Ich suchte Adam" was loaded with tales of sightings of mammoths. The first of which were tales from Swedish Army officers who, after their defeat at Poltava and Subsequent capture and transport to Siberia had produced remarkably detailed maps of the geography and wildlife of Siberian and Kalmuk landholdings. The maps contained unusual representations of an animal they called the MAMMONTOKOVAST, which were supposedly hunted by the Tungusk and Siberians. Wendts stories were actually folk tales that surrounded the discovery of frozen mammoth carcasses in the Lena estuary . These tales were carried to von SCheucher who, already famous for Homo deluvii testishis fossil of the "man, who witnessed the Flood" included the tales of LIVING mammoths (he felt that if dead mammoths were a good story then live ones are even better).

The stories of living mammoths in the Asian subArctic and Northern European forests were just that. Wendt, never one to deny good stories their place in his books, never really made the case that these mammoth stories were tales hopped up by hunters , "Travellers" (gypsie merchants) and gem dealers like Ossip Schumachov , who often sought out tons of mammoth ivory and related the findings as having come from living beasts.

I can believe that , with Paleolithic humans, isolated populations of mammoths could have been hunted , and these were hunted to probable extinction, population by population, until by 2000BC, even the WRangle "midget mammoths" were gone and only a few Imperial Elephants (a sort of cross) were left in the Indian Jungles and Eastern Europe.

The Columbian Mammoths, a non-wooly native of the US mid continent and peri glacial loess areas of the upper mid west, were possibly alive as late as 4 or 5K bp. The "transitional people" the ancestor of the Hopewells and the "red Ochre" people may have actually seen some of these because of pictoglyphs and petroglyphs in the Minnesota lake country. (I saw a photo of a rock slab that was copied by George Morrison with a long horned animal that looked like a dinosaur with a tusk, George , withy authority from Vine Delorias son stated that these drawings were most likely a depiction of a mammoth drawn from stories around the campfire >These stories attempted to relate the tales from the paleo ancestors who may have actually bopped a few of these Columbia Mammoths.


The point is that Herbert Wendt has always been taken "cum grano salis"
0 Replies
 
 

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