[News] Ancient elephant discoveries

Extinct elephantoids appear in three fascinating news stories from Turkey, America and the world of data simulations. Whatever we think we know, there’s always more to discover!

Unique elephantoid fossil in Turkey

A skull belonging to a 7.5 million year old elephantoid has been identified in Kayseri, Turkey. Finnish paleontologist Juha Saarinen travelled to Kayseri to spend two days examining the skull.

Saarinen said the fossil came from Choerolophodon pentelici, an extinct member of the once diverse taxonomic order Proboscidea. Today, elephants are the only surviving members of the order.

The fossil, found at Yamula Dam Lake in 2020, is the only complete Choerolophodon pentelici skull known to science.

Woolly mammoths in New England

New research suggests humans and woolly mammoths may have lived in New England (USA) at the same time. Experts used to think there was no overlap.

By radiocarbon dating a woolly mammoth rib fragment, researchers found that the animal lived in New England 12,800 years ago. Humans arrived in the area at the same time.

For an in depth report on this story, visit this Darmouth College webpage.

Human hunters bad news for mammoths

Woolly mammoths might still be here if it weren’t for humans, say scientists after running a computer simulation over 90,000 times.

The simulation used information on climate change, human hunters, and the woolly mammoth populations of between 21,000 to 4,000 years ago.

Results suggest climate change reduced the amount of habitat available to woolly mammoths. Remaining populations were then hunted to extinction.

Scientists tweaked the climate and hunting data to see which of the two had the most impact on mammoth populations. They now believe that without humans, woolly mammoths could have survived into the 21st century.

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