Siberian mammoths

3 Oct 2015

Robert Farrar sent the link to .... the bones of eleven mammoths and one woolly rhinoceros were found near the Ob river in western Siberia - dating between 10,000 and 30,000 years ago (a provisional estimate as C14 has not been done). For years people have been taking bones from the deposit as a souvenir and not a single tusk has remained. Four other mass graves of mammoth are known in Siberia and explanations on how they came about are trite.

At ... digging up your potatoes in your vegetable patch in this village can come up with more than expected, and rather than tubers one is just as likely to dig up bones of Ice Age mammals. Doing an extension to your house and installing new water pipes can hit the same problem - bones. The village seems to have been built on top of a mass graveyard of mammoths (and other animals). It is even called Mamontovoye (mammoth village) and comprises two streets and three lanes, 250km west of Novosibirsk.

The village school has a mammoth museum (lots of bones) and the seam they come from is estimated to be 2m in thickness. However, tusks have been stolen over the years and these are in short supply. They were taken as curiosities rather than for their ivory as apparently they are unsuitable. One source of information said the 2m seam was full of small mammoths and if you want to get at bigger specimens you need to dig deeper - where you will reach another seam (or mass grave). This clearly shows that mammoths did not die out all at once but were killed during various episodes over a long period of time - and the ebb and flow of stadials and interstadials were part of that process, as if the earth was never still. The evidence in Siberia therefore fits snugly with the evidence in N America and Europe - lots of Ice Ages and lots of interglacials (as well as all those blips in stadials and warm interstadials within the last Ice Age). Catastrophism would seem to be intermittent and it therefore gives a lie to some of the explanations concerning their extinction.

Here we have geology that involves layers of mammoth bones - and they can hardly have been laid down over uniformitarian time scales. Sergey Leshchinsky of Tomsk State University is investigating why the bones were laid down and is thinking of a new explanation as he isn't persuaded by some of the old ideas such as human hunting wiping out huge herds of animals. Mind you his explanation is just as unlikely as he is thinking in terms of mineral starvation leading to bones not strong enough to support the huge beasts bulk. However, he attrributes this partly to dramatic climate change (which in code reads catastrophic climate change without going into the details).

At ...

a fulll skeleton of a mammoth was found in Russian permafrost recently, the second one this year (2015). It dates to the Middle Pleistocene which can be anything between 126,000 years ago and 700,000 years ago, If it dates to the last interglacial episode, around 126,000 years ago, it may have been the victim of renewed cold. The soil and sand around the animal's remains seems to have thawed on more than one occasion leaving it open to opportunistic scavengers to gnaw.

This was not a woolly mammoth but an older species, one with little hair. It therefore belonged to a warmer period of climate and was, in effect, a large elephant. The soil was seived and frozen seeds, pants, fruit and insects were recovered which will be used to recreate the climate in which it thrived in what is now one of the coldest regions of northern Asia. Why do we get this kind of investigation in Russia but not in Alaska or Canada. What is stopping scientists - mainstream assumptions and uniformitarian prejudice?