Mammoth Blood

5 May 2010

The New York Times (at www.nytimes.com ) May 3rd (see also Science Daily and www.physorg.com ) all have a story about research on mammoths, claiming they have adapted to living in a cold environment. Scientists have managed to reconstruct mammoth hemoglabin. Mammoths originated in a tropical climate but diverged from elephants some 7 million years ago. They adapted to a cold environment by developing smaller ears, a thick coat of fur, and glands in their skin to keep the fur well oiled. Now, it has been found mammoth blood adapted to cooler weather - and it is assumed they adapted to a polar ecosystem (on the basis Siberia and Alaska were extremely cold during the Ice Ages). However, mammoth blood has distinct differences to arctic animals but this is not emphasized. Have they adapted to a cooler environment - but not an Arctic one? If Alaska and Siberia were not as cold as the consensus theory allows this discovery might prove to be important - but at the moment it is being used to prove they lived in a cold ecosystem.