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Pleistocene mammals

2 September 2011

At www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id//333948/description/Woolly_rhinos_ca… … is a report on a paper published in Science (Sept 2nd) and is all about the discovery of a new cache of mammal fossils – this time found in the foothills of the Himalayas, on the high Tibetan plateau. The bones date back nearly 4 million years ago – preceding the so called Ice Ages. Concentrating on the rhinoceros it was found they had some features in common with the woolly rhinoceros of the Ice Ages. It has led to an interesting bit of speculation – might the characteristics of the woolly rhinoceros have first occurred in Tibet. This requires a very cold Tibet in which the rhinoceros adapted over a period of time. Later, the rhinoceros came down from the plateau, half way adapted to Ice Age conditions, and thrived in what is thought to have been a cold Siberian climate (apart from the interglacial episodes). However, it was only bones that were found – including skulls and teeth. No hair was found so it is not known if the creatures were woolly.

We might just say that what has been found is just another heap of bones – which may or may not have a catastrophic origin. Predictably the research was focussed within uniformitarian lines, compartmentalised it could be said – such a waste. 

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