Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Mammoths Survived In Britain Until 14,000 Years Ago, New Discovery Suggests

Date:
June 18, 2009
Source:
Wiley-Blackwell
Summary:
Research finally proves that bones found in Shropshire, England, provide the most geologically recent evidence of woolly mammoths in Northwestern Europe. Analysis of both the bones and the surrounding environment suggests that some mammoths remained part of British wildlife long after they are conventionally believed to have become extinct.

Artist's concept of a woolly mammoth family.
Credit: iStockphoto/KIM FREITAS

Research which finally proves that bones found in Shropshire, England provide the most geologically recent evidence of woolly mammoths in North Western Europe publishes June 17 in the Geological Journal. Analysis of both the bones and the surrounding environment suggests that some mammoths remained part of British wildlife long after they are conventionally believed to have become extinct.

The mammoth bones, consisting of one largely complete adult male and at least four juveniles, were first excavated in 1986, but the carbon dating which took place at the time has since been considered inaccurate. Technological advances during the past two decades now allow a more exact reading, which complements the geological data needed to place the bones into their environmental context. This included a study of the bones' decay, analysis of fossilised insects which were also found on the site, and a geological analysis of the surrounding sediment.

The research was carried out by Professor Adrian Lister, based at the Natural History Museum in London, who has conducted numerous studies into 'extinction lag' where small pockets of a species have survived for thousands of years longer than conventionally thought.

"Mammoths are conventionally believed to have become extinct in North Western Europe about 21,000 years ago during the main ice advance, known as the 'Last Glacial Maximum'" said Lister. "Our new radiocarbon dating of the Condover mammoths changes that, by showing that mammoths returned to Britain and survived until around 14,000 years ago."

As the Shropshire bones are the latest record of mammoths in North Western Europe they not only prove that the species survived for much longer than traditionally believed it also provides strong evidence to settle the debate as to whether mammoth extinction was caused by climate change or human hunting.

"The new dates of the mammoths' last appearance correlate very closely in time to climate changes when the open grassy habitat of the Ice Age was taken over by advancing forests, which provides a likely explanation for their disappearance," said Lister. "There were humans around during the time of the Condover mammoths, but no evidence of significant mammoth hunting."

Dr Lister's findings feature in one of three papers on the Condover Mammoths which are all published in the Geological Journal. The other papers focus on the Palaeoenviromental context of the mammoths (Allen et al) and a geological study of the site in which the mammoths were discovered (Scourse et al).


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wiley-Blackwell. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal References:

  1. Lister A. Late-glacial mammoth skeletons (Mammuthus primigenius) from Condover (Shropshire, UK): anatomy, pathology, taphonomy and chronological significance. Geological Journal, DOI: 10.1002/gj.1162
  2. Allen.J.R.M, Scourse.JD, Hall,A.R, Coope G.R. Palaeoenviromental context of the Late-glacial woolly mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius) discoveries at Condover, Shropshire, UK(pn/a). Geological Journal, 2009 DOI: 10.1002/gj1161
  3. Scourse, Coope et al. Late-glacial remains of woolly mammoth Mammuthus primigenius) from Shropshire UK: stratigraphy, sedimentology and geochronology of the Condover site (p n/a). Geological Journal, 2009 DOI: 10.1002/gj.1163

Cite This Page:

Wiley-Blackwell. "Mammoths Survived In Britain Until 14,000 Years Ago, New Discovery Suggests." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 June 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090617201758.htm>.
Wiley-Blackwell. (2009, June 18). Mammoths Survived In Britain Until 14,000 Years Ago, New Discovery Suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090617201758.htm
Wiley-Blackwell. "Mammoths Survived In Britain Until 14,000 Years Ago, New Discovery Suggests." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090617201758.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Fossils & Ruins News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Newsy (July 28, 2014) The asteroid that killed the dinosaurs struck at the worst time for them. A new study says that if it hit earlier or later, they might've survived. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Did ISIS Destroy Jonah's Tomb?

Did ISIS Destroy Jonah's Tomb?

Newsy (July 25, 2014) Unverified footage posted to YouTube purportedly shows ISIS militants destroying a shrine widely believed to be the tomb of the prophet Jonah. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Europe's Highest Train Turns 80 in French Pyrenees

Europe's Highest Train Turns 80 in French Pyrenees

AFP (July 25, 2014) Europe's highest train, the little train of Artouste in the French Pyrenees, celebrates its 80th birthday. Duration: 01:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Richard III's Car Park Burial Site Opens to Public

Richard III's Car Park Burial Site Opens to Public

AFP (July 25, 2014) Visitors will be able to look down from a glass walkway on the grave of King Richard III when a new centre opens in the English cathedral city of Leicester, where the infamous hunchback was found under a car park in 2012. Duration: 00:35 Video provided by AFP
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