Wed. Jun 19th, 2024

Humans may have been lured to America by mammoths

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar Jan22,2024

Humans would have lured to America by mammoths

Open in full screen mode

Three mammoths are observed by humans from the dunes near the Swan Point archaeological site in Alaska, a seasonal hunting camp occupied 14,000 years ago. (Artistic illustration)

The Canadian Press

It was perhaps by following in the footsteps of mammoths that some humans first settled in what is now Alaska, nearly 14,000 years ago, according to a US-Canadian study.

For four years, Professor Clément Bataille of the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Ottawa and American and Canadian colleagues have been trying to learn more about mammoths who lived several thousand years ago in Alaska.

They are still fascinating and majestic species, so they #x27;s fascinating to study them, admits Mr. Bataille in an interview with The Canadian Press.

After delving into the life of a male specimen, Kik, who lived 17,000 years ago, researchers turned to Elma , a female who lived about 14,000 years ago.

What caught the researchers' attention this time was that the Elma fossil was found in the same place where humans would have set up camp around the same time, which which poses the hypothesis that these humans were attracted to North America by following the trail of mammoths.

LoadingOttawa establishes “temporary two-year cap” on international students

ELSE ON NEWS: Ottawa establishes a “temporary two-year cap” targeting foreign students

Humans are known to have arrived in Alaska around 13,500 years ago. The first site where there is completely irrefutable evidence that humans are present is at Swan Point, and it is at this site that we find this tusk of this female, Elma , mentions Mr. Bataille.

What's quite interesting about how humans got to Alaska at that time is that all of their villages and settlements are in places where there are a lot of mammoths, he continues.

These are areas with high numbers of mammoths. And so, our hypothesis is, potentially, that humans would have been attracted, passing from Asia to North America by the Bering land bridge – which had emerged at that time – there -, by all this large quantity of mammoths which were present in North America, and particularly in this area where there were more of them than elsewhere.

A quote from Clément Bataille, University of ;Ottawa

We know that humans hunted mammoths, since they already did so in Europe and Eurasia. Without being able to confirm it, researchers also put forward the hypothesis that Elma was killed by hunter-gatherers.

First, its fossil was found where there was also a camp. Then, she was in good health when she died at the age of 20 – which is still very young for a mammoth, says Mr. Bataille. Then she was found near the fossils of two other young mammoths, including a baby, who were part of the same herd.

So that still makes three coincidences which are quite strong and which tell us that very potentially, this female and these two young mammoths were hunted and brought back to the camp, underlines Mr. Bataille.

Open in full screen mode< p class="StyledImageCaptionLegend-sc-57496c44-2 sbxsP">Woolly mammoths roamed North America and Asia for hundreds of thousands of years. Many of them became extinct during the most recent period of global warming.

The researchers also analyzed the impact that #x27;climate change affected the mammoths, which became extinct 11,000 or 12,000 years ago on the American continent.

Already, comparing the lives of Kik and Elma, they noticed several differences.

What we saw was that this male mammoth moved enormously over distances much, much, much greater than this female, sometimes with movements of 300 or 400 kilometers, advance Clément Bataille.

Kik's life 17,000 years ago took place before the deglaciation. This makes Beringia, which separated Russia and Alaska, a large tundra plain, a truly ideal environment for mammoths, according to the researcher.

But Elma, who lived 14,000 years ago, didn't have it so easy, since her life took place during the deglaciation, during which the valleys have transformed into wetlands.

Our hypothesis would be that it was still quite limited by the climate . These are animals that were very adapted to these open tundra environments. When the tundra disappears or becomes fragmented, it's much more difficult for them to move across that territory and, potentially, they are more susceptible to hunting and they are also more susceptible to extinction.A quote from Clément Bataille, University of Ottawa

Mr. Bataille and his colleagues are continuing their work to better understand what happened at the end of the last ice age, when several species, including mammoths, became extinct.

Their research on Elma was published in the journal Science Advances (New window) (in English) .

Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my 1-800-268-7116

Related Post