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What is that mammoth tusk doing there

3 December 2021

Sent in by Willia. What is that ancient mammoth tusk doing at the bottom of the ocean? See https://weather.com/news/trending/video/what-is-ancient-mammoth-tusk-doi… … what is an ancient mammoth tusk doing 150 miles offshore at a depth of 10,000 feet? See also www.livescience.com/underwater-mammoth-tusk … and www.nytimes.com/2021/11/22/mammoth-tusk-ocean.html …but how did it get there. It is due to currents we are told, moving water and apparently, a massive tusk, in the process. One might wonder if a tsunami might be the cause, rushing up on land and then withdrawing back into the sea, dragging things with it. The good thing now is that eyes will be peeled for other oddities on the ocean bed.

Over at https://phys.org/news/2021-11-molecular-analysis-reveals-oldest-denisova… … molecular analysis reveals the oldest Denisovan fossils yet discovered. This is an improvement on a newspaper report of the same story that I read in the week that provided us with an image of a cross between Lucy and a mountain gorilla, with long sagging lubes to boot. A European team from Germany, Austria, and Russia, has identified five more human fossil bones from the Denisova cave in the Altai Mountains of southern Siberia. They were found in a context well dated at 200,000 years ago. Human bones, we are told, are difficult to distinguish on the cave floor, as they are amongst hundreds of thousands of animal bones. Did they all die in the cave, or dragged there for consumption? Or did they get there as a result of a wave of water that threw all of them into the cave? Over the course of four years, the team extracted and analysed ancient proteins and DNA from nearly 4,000 bone fragments. The bones were fragmented into little pieces, or were they tossed and broken. They used 'peptide fingerprinting' [zooarchaeology by mass spectrometer] in order to analyse bones no longer than 4 cm in length. Five of the bones turned out to be human in origin – and four contained enough DNA in them to allow a reconstruction of the mtDNA genome. These turned out to be Denisovans, apart from one. It was a Neanderthal. It seems they they were living in the cave – or in the vicinty of the cave, during an interglacial episode. A number of flint tools have also been found amongst the bone heaps.

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