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Frozen Birds in Permafrost

22 February 2020

Robert sent in several links on the same subject – such as www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/02/200221102126.htm … a well preserved horned lark has been found in Siberian permafrost and its DNA has been recovered. The fossil was found in bleak NE Siberia, a fairly inhospitable environment for a lark. It has been provisionally dated at around 46,000 years ago and the bird is related to horned larks that live in the modern world. During the Late Glacial Maximum the steppe zone spread across northern Europe and Asia and was home to woolly mammoth, bison and woolly rhinoceros etc. At the end of the Ice Age this steppe zone was divided into tundra in the north, taiga in the middle and steppe in the south.

At https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horned_lark … we are told there are 42 subspecies of the horned lark, some of which live in northern Canada and Alaska. Others are located in eastern Canada and western Canada (overspilling into Oregon), in the western mountains of the US, Alberta and Saskatchewan, and as far south as Baja California and Sonora in Mexico. Other subspecies are endemic to Arizona, Utah, northern Europe and northern Asia, Mongolia and northern China, European Russia – even as far south as Morocco, the southern Balkans, Turkey, Iran, the Caucasus and the Lebanon, Turkmenistan, Pakistan, Qinghai, western China, Tibet (and so on). Northern populations are migratory and move south in the winter. It's numbers are greater in the southern areas of its range which suggest it is ill equipped for an Ice Age or polar environment. In the UK it is found as a winter stopover – found around the coasts and in eastern England. This seems to indicate, once again, that the Siberian steppe was warmer in Late Pleistocene that it is in the modern world.

Robert then produced the next link – https://creation.com/woolly-mammoths-choked-by-dust/ … where it is said some mammoths found in Siberia, Alaska and the Yukon, were found buried in loess – mostly composed of silt with a percentage of sand and clays. It seems some of them died choking on dust – or were buried and covered in silt (or mud). Loess is said to derive from air blown dust – which the link seems to accept. In fact, dust storms are put forward as a means of death of these animals (a leaf out of mainstream). Some mammoths died as a result of asphyxiation (swallowing dust or silt). Mammoths didn't drown we are told. They died, in some circumstances, by ingesting lots of mud. The idea of the author appears to be to distance the mammoth die-offs (condensed to a single event) from the  Noachian flood (preserved for the demise of the dinosaurs). They propose a post-flood Ice Age, necessarily brief in time and extent, but there seems to be a surprising amount of acceptance of mainstream by the author. It is all rather strained and represents a concertina like reduction of the gradualist model, too compressed by far. Whether wind blown loess killed the mammoths off is anyone's guess – a view snookered if loess has an origin in water perturbed sediments of silt, sand and clays. The jury is out on that one.

For the full article in Nature on the horned lark fossil go to www.nature.com/articles/s42003-020-0806-7#Ack1

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