Researchers from the University of Helsinki found the place where the last woolly mammoth lived and died. 4,000-year-old remains were found on Wrangel Island in the Arctic Ocean.
An international research team from the University of Helsinki, Tübingen University and the Russian Academy of Sciences has reconstructed a scenario that could lead to the extinction of a mammoth 4,000 years ago.
A research paper published on Elsevier states: “The last population of woolly mammoths in the world (Mammuthus primigenius) lived on Wrangel Island and continued to exist in the Holocene and became extinct in approx. 4000 kcal. In terms of the frequency of the radiocarbon dated mammoth residues from the island, extinction looks rather sharp. This study explores the ecology of the mammoth population on Wrangel Island by analyzing carbon, nitrogen, and sulfur isotopes.
“We report new isotope data for 77 specimens of dated carbon mammoths from Wrangel Island and Siberia and evaluate them for previously published isotope data for Pleistocene mammoths from Beringia and Eurasia at lower latitudes, as well as other island Holocene mammoth populations from Saint paul Island”.
Researchers believe that the combination of life in isolation on Wrangel Island in extreme weather events, in addition to the appearance of an early man, could lead to the extinction of the woolly mammoth.
“We believe that this reflects the tendency of Siberian mammoths to rely on their fat reserves to survive the extremely harsh winters of the ice age, while Wrangel’s mammoths living in milder conditions simply did not need it,” says Dr. Laura Arppe of the Finnish Natural History Museum Luomus, University of Helsinki.
“It’s easy to imagine that a population that may have already been weakened by genetic degradation and drinking water quality problems could die after something like an extreme weather event,” says Professor Herve Bocherens of the Center for Human and Paleo-Environment at Tübingen University, Senkenberg. Co-author of the study.