Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Mammoths Stranded On Bering Sea Island Delayed Extinction

Date:
June 18, 2004
Source:
University Of Alaska Fairbanks
Summary:
St. Paul, one of the five islands in the Bering Sea Pribilofs, was home to mammoths that survived the extinctions that wiped out mainland and other Bering Sea island mammoth populations.

St. Paul, one of the five islands in the Bering Sea Pribilofs, was home to mammoths that survived the extinctions that wiped out mainland and other Bering Sea island mammoth populations.

In an article in the June 17, 2004 edition of the journal Nature, R. Dale Guthrie, professor emeritus at the Institute of Arctic Biology at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, says that when mammoths on the mainland of Alaska and other Bering Sea islands died out during the extinctions at the end of the Pleistocene era (about 11,000 years ago) those on the Pribilofs survived and new radiocarbon dates show how.

It was a matter of being in the right place at the right time and the mammoth tooth fossil that demonstrates Guthrie's point is the first record in the Americas of a mammoth population surviving the Pleistocene.

"During the last glacial maximum, when the sea level was about 120 meters below its current level, what are now the Pribilofs were simply uplands connected to the mainland by a large, flat plain," Guthrie said.

Using accelerator mass spectrometer (AMS) radiocarbon dating, bathymetric (water depth) plots, and sea transgression rates from the Bering Sea, Guthrie found that the mammoths became stranded on the Pribilofs about 13,000 years ago during the Holocene sea level rise after the last glacial maximum.

"Woolly mammoths became extinct on the mainland about 11,500 radiocarbon years ago," Guthrie said. At that time St. Lawrence Island was part of the Alaska mainland and presumably subject to the same extinction pressures as the mainland, but St. Paul had been an island for about 1,500 years.

"Radiocarbon-dated samples from St. Lawrence Island show similar dates of extinction to the mainland," Guthrie said, "but a sample from St. Paul dates to only 7,908 radiocarbon years old, into the mid-Holocene, which is much later."

The mammoths were able to survive on St. Paul so long as the island provided enough grazing forage and there were sufficient numbers of animals to prevent inbreeding pressures, Guthrie said, and at its present size of 36 square miles is too small to sustain a permanent mammoth population. St. Paul became that size about 5,000 years ago, so mammoths likely became extinct prior to that time.

St. Paul lies about 300 miles west of the Alaska mainland, and 750 air miles west of Anchorage.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Alaska Fairbanks. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Alaska Fairbanks. "Mammoths Stranded On Bering Sea Island Delayed Extinction." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 June 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/06/040618070946.htm>.
University Of Alaska Fairbanks. (2004, June 18). Mammoths Stranded On Bering Sea Island Delayed Extinction. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/06/040618070946.htm
University Of Alaska Fairbanks. "Mammoths Stranded On Bering Sea Island Delayed Extinction." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/06/040618070946.htm (accessed July 23, 2014).

Share This




More Fossils & Ruins News

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Neil Armstrong's Post-Apollo 11 Life

Neil Armstrong's Post-Apollo 11 Life

Newsy (July 19, 2014) — Neil Armstrong gained international fame after becoming the first man to walk on the moon in 1969. But what was his life like after the historic trip? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
A Centuries' Old British Tradition Is Far from a Swan Song

A Centuries' Old British Tradition Is Far from a Swan Song

AFP (July 19, 2014) — As if it weren't enough that the Queen is the Sovereign of the UK and 15 other Commonwealth realms, she is also the owner of all Britain's unmarked swans. Duration: 02:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tooth Plaque Provides Insight Into Diets Of Ancient People

Tooth Plaque Provides Insight Into Diets Of Ancient People

Newsy (July 19, 2014) — Research on plaque from ancient teeth shows that our prehistoric ancestor's had a detailed understanding of plants long before developing agriculture. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
45 Years Later, Buzz Aldrin on Walking on Moon

45 Years Later, Buzz Aldrin on Walking on Moon

AP (July 18, 2014) — Forty-five years ago Sunday, Apollo 11's Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to set foot on the moon. Speaking at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, Aldrin described what he was thinking right before the historic walk. (July 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins