There remained only the head, part of the proboscis, the neck area and part of the breast of the baby mammoth’s body. The body is practically cut off behind the withers and shoulder area. The skin on the head is torn on the forehead and cinciput, the skull is damaged, the proboscis is torn off.
The baby mammoth’s skin is well preserved, it is smooth, greyish-brown, the tawny hair fell out and froze into the ice near the body. Under the skin, there remained muscles and the alveole with a permanent 76 millimeter long tusk, which had come through. Since the replacement of milk-tusks by permanent ones happened with mammoths at the age of one year the earliest, the researchers decided that the baby they had found perished approximately at this age. As the tusk is short, it can be assumed that the Oimyakon mammoth was a female (male’s tusks are longer).
The animal’s remains were investigated by the X-ray computer-aided tomography methods at the National Centre of Medicine in Yakutsk. Roentgenograms allowed to determine the baby’s age more accurately: judging by the teeth state, the mammoth was at least one year old but no more than a year and a half. The baby mammoth was already able to feed on vegetation independently. There are adipose deposits along the neck and practically from the skull foundation through to the withers area, the adipose deposits are up to seven centimetres thick. These deposits form real adipose “pockets” and they get over to the body sides.
The Stone Age artists often used to draw mammoths with a big hump on the back. Some specialists assume that mammoths laid adipose tissue on the withers like zebu or camels do, others believe that the hump on the back could be the consequence of vigorous muscles development, the third group thinks that mammoths’ “gibbosity” in the drawings of ancient human beings reflects the large mane development. In the Yakutsk researchers’ opinion, the adipose tissue discovered by them on the baby mammoth’s withers is the evidence that mammoths used to accumulate significant adipose deposits particularly in this part of the body. Such deposits helped them to survive the most severe conditions and water shortage during snowless winters.
Judging by radiocarbon dating performed at the University of Groningen (Netherlands), the little mammoth perished during the Kargin interglacial period, 413000±900 years ago. The sediments that contained the mammoth’s dead body preserved pollen, which mainly belonged to herbaceous and shrubby plants. The little mammoth lived among sedge and motley grass swamps. Now, these places are covered by larch woodland with a touch of alder-trees.
Specialists have checked the Oimyakon mammoth for presence of particularly dangerous infections, but found nothing. The baby did not die from an infectious disease. Apparently, it got stuck and drowned in a waterlogged place. Complete hair shedding and skin exfoliation on some parts of the body testify to the fact that the mammoth’s body stayed in water for a long time. Most probably, the little mammoth drowned in autumn, because its body froze into the ice soon and then it was covered by mudslide, thanks to which the body remained in the frozen state.
At present, the baby mammoth is still frozen. The researchers are sure that integrated study of this object will provide the scientific community with a lot of new data about the height, development, molecular and genetic peculiarities of the mammoths, as well as multiple data on paleo-ecology of the late pleistocene.
Olga Myznikova | alfa
Biologists unravel another mystery of what makes DNA go 'loopy'
16.03.2018 | Emory Health Sciences
Scientists map the portal to the cell's nucleus
16.03.2018 | Rockefeller University
Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...
On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...
The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...
At the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show from April 25–29, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is showcasing extreme high-speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA): A video documents how for metal components that are highly loaded, EHLA has already proved itself as an alternative to hard chrome plating, which is now allowed only under special conditions.
When the EU restricted the use of hexavalent chromium compounds to special applications requiring authorization, the move prompted a rethink in the surface...
At the ILA Berlin, hall 4, booth 202, Fraunhofer FHR will present two radar sensors for navigation support of drones. The sensors are valuable components in the implementation of autonomous flying drones: they function as obstacle detectors to prevent collisions. Radar sensors also operate reliably in restricted visibility, e.g. in foggy or dusty conditions. Due to their ability to measure distances with high precision, the radar sensors can also be used as altimeters when other sources of information such as barometers or GPS are not available or cannot operate optimally.
Drones play an increasingly important role in the area of logistics and services. Well-known logistic companies place great hope in these compact, aerial...
16.03.2018 | Event News
13.03.2018 | Event News
08.03.2018 | Event News
16.03.2018 | Earth Sciences
16.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
16.03.2018 | Life Sciences