Mammoth News Roundup – 6/15/2012

Here are two bits of news from one of our best informants.

Mammoth Graveyard discovered

Pretty exciting news about an entire graveyard of Mammoths; presumably it’s a herd of them. We’ve always heard interesting things about elephants and death, and elephant graveyards as well. Perhaps Mammoths exhibited similar behavior.

Analysis of what killed the Woolly Mammoths

Turns out that jerk humans were indeed one of the causes of Woolly Mammoth extinction, but that was only one cause.  There was also climate and habitat change, and possibly a meteor strike.

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Lucky Family in Iowa Finds Mammoth in Backyard

I admit, when I was a kid, I dreamed of something like this happening.  But alas, most of my backyard digging finds ended up being rocks and clay (though I did once find a metate on a river bank in rural Utah about 10 years ago).  However, here’s the story of a family in Iowa that found a Mammoth in their backyard, and responsibly turned it over to a university.

Thanks to W.B. who sent me this story.

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Poor Baby Mammoth Murdered by Ancient Jerks

Some of our least civilized ancient relatives (think of them as crazy uncles if that helps) apparently butchered this poor baby Mammoth, discovered recently in Siberia. So much for “ancient people used every part of the animals they killed.”

I know what you’re thinking: you’re wishing we could track down the jerks who killed this Mammoth and bring them to justice. Well, perhaps it might help you to know that the perpetrators had to live in Siberia during prehistoric times, and probably lived to a ripe old age of 25, dying of malnutrition and disease.

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Woolly Mammoth Spotted in Siberia

The highly-respected journalistic outlet called The Sun recently showed some footage purportedly showing a Woolly Mammoth – thought to be extinct – crossing a river in Siberia.  Let me first say that I wish it were true as much as the next guy, but let’s be serious here.  If Woolly Mammoths weren’t really extinct, we would know, because they would be stomping idiot tabloid presses left and right.  Oh, and I highly doubt that someone could film a Woolly Mammoth crossing a river and still not be sure that it’s a Woolly Mammoth.  Why?  I think it goes without saying that the cameraman would discover the identity of the creature right before getting stomped.

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Cave of a Hundred Mammoths finger paintings

I admit, I’ve been pretty hard on ancient humans in past posts.  However, I’ll give credit where credit is due.  Ancient humans were in such awe of Mammoths, they were teaching their children to paint them on cave walls.  Now that’s what I call art.  Here’s a picture from a cave called the Cave of a Hundred Mammoths, which is probably the greatest name for a cave ever conceived of in the history of mankind.

Okay, so it’s not much to look at.  However, archaeologists insist that these are the paintings of children, who obviously held Mammoths rightly in very high regard.  The real question is, how do you tell a child’s drawing from a regular cave drawing?  Are they just really crappy stick men as opposed to regular stick men?

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The reprehensible ancient ivory trade.

As if we needed more evidence that early humans were jerks, check out this article regarding early human behavior.  Not only were they cannibals (eating each other out of ritual and not for nutrition), they also engaged in a Mammoth ivory trade, wearing what the article callously calls “Mammoth bling.”

Sad.  Just sad.

Though, let’s face it, modern humans really aren’t that much better than their primitive forefathers.  And is there any evidence that Mammoths ate each other, or made jewelry out of humans?  Of course not.  Mammoths weren’t vain enough to even wear jewelry.  When you’re huge, and can stomp almost anything, you’ve got nothing to prove.

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American Lions and Dire Wolves vs. Mammoths

American Lion skull

Here’s a great account of the excavation of a Mammoth site in Colorado. It’s very cool but not surprising that excavation of a Mammoth skeleton is very delicate and hard work. That’s partly because in this case, the Mammoth bones are not fossils – they’re bones. This means that the bones haven’t been replaced by hard minerals.

For those of you wondering how a majestic and powerful creature such as the Mammoth could go extinct in America, here’s a hint of what they were up against. Not only did they have ancient men to contend with (that unscrupulous, violent race), they also had American Lions and Dire Wolves searching for any excuse to feast on them.

That’s right… Dire Wolves.  It was so dire they just put the word in their name.

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