viernes, 11 de septiembre de 2015

Mammoth wipeout: new evidence from ancient animal 'graveyard'

11/11. Pictures: Tomsk State University, Sergey Leshchinsky
Many prehistoric creatures craved salt and vital minerals missing from their diets due to abrupt climate change, suggests a new scientific expedition.

A 10,000 year old animal 'necropolis' in Novodubrovsky village in the north of Novosibirsk region has given up fresh proof that the woolly mammoth became extinct because of bone disease triggered by lack of calcium.

It now appears that other species - namely the woolly rhinoceros and extinct types of ancient horse and bison - suffered the same fate in this period, too, possibly alongside the threat from hunting by early man.

The theory that osteoporosis was a significant cause of the extinction of the woolly mammoth has been proposed already by leading Siberian paleontologist Sergey Leshchinsky after the study of tens of thousands of ancient bones riddled with the disease.

Now in two expeditions this summer, the scientist from Tomsk State University has collected striking additional evidence from the new 'graveyard', on the site of an ancient 'salt lick' or 'mineral lick', a source of vital calcium and other minerals seen as lacking in grass and other foods as well as water some 10,000 years ago.

Bones and teeth of ancient horses, woolly rhinos, and bison, as well as mammoths, along with predators such as wolves and remains of birds of prey - notably eagles or owls - and other animals have been found during the Novodubrovsky excavation. [...]

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