22 Sep 2016

At ... a mammoth head complete with tusks has been unearthed in a canyon  on one of the Channel Islands (Channel Islands National Park, N America). It raises two interesting points. One, charcoal samples taken from near the skull have been dated 13,000 years ago. This coincides with another C14 date of human skeletal material found on the same Santa Rosa island back in 1959, of around the same point in time. Were humans contemporary with mammoths and may they have contributed to their decline or has the C14 technique improved so much the 1959 sample should be ignored. Two, it is thought the islands mammoths had evolved into a pygmy island species but the tusks of the new mammoth are of a juvenile of the much bigger Colombian Mammoth (full size). What does this mean? Were the islands detached from the mainland 13,000 years ago - or not? Was the topography of the channel islands entirely different? Is this another example of the land going up and coming down?

Se also