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The Prehistoric Proboscidean Thread- Elephants, mammoths, mastodonts etc

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  • Registered Users Posts: 37,293 ✭✭✭✭ the_syco


    From Geologyin.com
    The first discovery, made just before Thanksgiving, was of a 3-foot section of tusk fragments, as well as fragments of a mastodon tooth, found at a depth of 15 feet at the Wilshire and La Brea excavation site, said Metro spokesman Dave Sotero.

    Late afternoon Monday, a paleontological monitor hired to look out for bones and fossils came across a partial skull and tusks, believed to belong to an ancient elephant, Sotero said. The second discovery was made within about 10 feet of the first.

    Seems the area has loads of bones in it, mainly because of;
    Over the millenniums, petroleum from once-massive underground oil fields oozed to the surface, forming bogs that trapped and killed unwary animals and then preserved their skeletons.

    I wonder what else will be dug up?


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 5,279 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Adam Khor


    The study found that the prehistoric straight-tusked elephant Palaeoloxodon, often grouped with Asian elephants, is actually more closely related to African forest elephants (Loxodonta cyclotis) than to Elephas. Also, the African forest elephant is closer to the prehistoric one than to the African bush elephant. This means the genus may be invalid, with Palaeoloxodon species being actually LoxodontaPalaeoloxodon includes the Asian species P. namadicus, which may be the largest land mammal ever to have existed. 
    https://elifesciences.org/articles/25413
    default.jpg
    I always thought African forest elephants looked pretty prehistoric...

    African_Forest_Elephant.jpg
    Forest-elephant.jpg
    1-Forest-ele.jpg
    10617e4ede2b50b8e77413f5285b16bc.jpg


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 5,279 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Adam Khor




  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 5,279 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Adam Khor




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  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 5,279 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Adam Khor


    Gomphotheres being the animals that eventually gave rise to elephants.
    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/05/180517102353.htm
    068b4cf31d0cb59457d86f3c8e9a49a0.jpg


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 5,279 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Adam Khor




  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 5,279 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Adam Khor




  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 59,584 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Wibbs


    It has long fascinated me how the use of bone for tools in hominids is so relatively recent an innovation. Neandertals seemed to be the first known to do it, but they reserved the material for leather finishers(or building material). At least using the material in a novel way. Hominids have used bone on occasion, but usually by treating it not unlike a source of stone and just copied the stone tools in bone. Given the myriad "pre made" shapes you get with bone, horn and ivory it seems so obvious to us it would make for a great addition to the tool inventory. Even odder when you consider humans have used wood for at least 500,000 years so knew how to shape that.

    Rejoice in the awareness of feeling stupid, for that’s how you end up learning new things. If you’re not aware you’re stupid, you probably are.



  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 5,279 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Adam Khor




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  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 5,279 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Adam Khor


    Amazing photos of a rare female "supertusker", that is, an elephant with enormous tusks reminiscent of their prehistoric forefathers. There are between 20 and 30 supertuskers left in the entire planet and since the gene pool is decreasing and the elephants are being killed before they reach their full growth potential, it is unlikely we'll see many of them in the future.

    At least this one died of old age:

    https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/queen-elephants-pictured-last-time-14123164

    0_PAY-HUGE-TUSK-ELEPHANT-QUEEN.jpg

    0_PAY-HUGE-TUSK-ELEPHANT-QUEEN.jpg

    0_PAY-HUGE-TUSK-ELEPHANT-QUEEN.jpg

    Not paleontology, but at this rate...

    Also, interesting to compare these recent supertuskers to the tusk champions among extinct proboscideans:

    Anancus

    1280px-Anancus_arvernensis_-_Las_Higueruelas%2C_Ciudad_Real%2C_Spain_-_Museo_Ciudad_Real.JPG

    Mammut ("Zygolophodon"?) borsoni

    Mammut_borsoni_from_Milia.jpg

    d9994da7943c824d4626373609f31337.png

    Columbian mammoth:

    Columbian_mammoth.JPG

    wp_20161115_14_25_12_pro.jpg


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 5,279 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Adam Khor




  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 5,279 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Adam Khor




  • Registered Users Posts: 8,551 ✭✭✭ Rubecula


    one thing I never understood was the relationship between African elephants, Indian elephants, Mammoths and Masterdons they have all lived at the same time.


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 5,279 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Adam Khor


    Rubecula wrote: »
    one thing I never understood was the relationship between African elephants, Indian elephants, Mammoths and Masterdons they have all lived at the same time.

    Mammoths are part of the Elephantidae family, like today's African and Indian elephants, and so they can be considered true elephants, just a different genus (Mammuthus). Within Elephantidae, Mammuthus are believed to be closer to Indian elephants (Elephas) than to either of the African elephants.

    African elephants were once thought to be one single species (Loxodonta africana), with the forest elephants being a subspecies (Loxodonta africana cyclotis), distinguished by smaller size, rounder ears, straighter tusks, etc. But genetic analysis have proven not only that it is a different species, but also that the forest elephant is more closely related to extinct elephant species such as Palaeoloxodon, the so called "straight-tusked elephant" that lived across Eurasia during the Pliocene and early to mid Pleistocene, and which includes the largest elephant species known thus far, P. namadicus, which may actually be the largest land mammal ever to have existed (even bigger than Indricotherium/Paraceratherium).

    This means that the classification of modern elephants is in serious need of a revamp. Maybe the forest elephant will eventually be renamed Palaeoloxodon cyclotis, or maybe it will get a genus name of its own? This would make Loxodonta africana, the savannah or bush African elephant, the only living species of Loxodonta. As I understand it, the idea is that the Palaeoloxodon-type elephants were once the dominant group in Africa as well as Eurasia, but at some point they went into decline and were largely replaced by the Loxodonta, with the only survivor of the Palaeoloxodon linneage being the forest elephant.

    image_4935e-Elephant-Family-Tree.jpg

    As for mastodonts, they belong to a different family within Proboscidea, the Mammutidae, and so even though they share a common ancestor with elephants, they are not true elephants themselves.

    probosclineagesm.jpg

    Mastodonts were, generally speaking,more massively built than mammoths or elephants. They are usually considered to be more primitive than elephantids, with pointed crowns to their molars, relatively shorter legs, and apparently covered on fur. The best known species would be the American mastodont (Mammut americanum/pacificus).

    fxdcsum43sokzycn3pxh.jpg

    latest?cb=20121018063501&path-prefix=es

    It should be noted that some authors use "mastodon" or "mastodont" to refer only to members of the Mammutidae, but others may use the name in a broader sense, to include other extinct proboscideans such as the gomphotheres; these are another, older family (Gomphotheriidae), very diverse during the Miocene and Pliocene and often had four tusks, with longer lower jaws than elephants and lower, more heavy set bodies.

    huff_gomph.jpg

    Gomphotheriidae is believed to have given rise to the mastodont (Mammutidae) and elephant (Elephantidae) families, but they weren´t completely replaced, as a few gomphotheres managed to hang on until the end of the Pleistocene/early Holocene in the Americas, so at some point you would've had mammoths, mastodonts (mammutids) and gomphotheres all existing at the same time.


  • Hosted Moderators Posts: 11,362 ✭✭✭✭ Scarinae


    At least 14 woolly mammoth skeletons have been uncovered in Mexico in traps built by humans about 15,000 years ago, according to the BBC.
    The two pits in Tultepec north of Mexico City are the first mammoth traps to be discovered, officials say.

    Early hunters may have herded the elephant-sized mammals into the traps using torches and branches.

    The recent discovery of more than 800 mammoth bones could change our understanding of how early humans hunted the enormous animals.

    Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) says more traps could be uncovered in the area north of Mexico City.

    Archaeologists thought early humans only killed mammoths if the animals were trapped or hurt.

    However, INAH's discovery of the human-built traps could mean such hunts were planned.

    _109563904_mediaitem109563903.jpg


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 13,993 ✭✭✭✭ recedite


    Not that deep (170cm) but I suppose enough to confine the animals while hunters used thrusting or throwing spears from relative safety, and at the right height to do damage to vital organs.


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 5,279 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Adam Khor


    Very interesting discovery!

    If the traps were so close to each other (with apparently several more nearby yet to be excavated), I suppose it was not uncommon for the hunters to capture several mammoths at once; they would just have to drive the herd in the direction of the traps. Maybe it's not surprising they went extinct in a relatively short time... :(

    mamuts-trampa-2.jpg


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 59,584 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Wibbs


    Neandertals on the island of Jersey appear to have done similar, though being lazy/more laid back :) they did use a natural cliff.

    Rejoice in the awareness of feeling stupid, for that’s how you end up learning new things. If you’re not aware you’re stupid, you probably are.



  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 5,279 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Adam Khor


    Wibbs wrote: »
    Neandertals on the island of Jersey appear to have done similar, though being lazy/more laid back :) they did use a natural cliff.

    Surely if there had been cliffs nearby, the sapiens too would've prefered to skip the digging? I know I would have :B

    Also, despite what the press is saying, it appears that the remains likely do not belong to woolly mammoths (Mammuthus primigenius), but to Columbian mammoths (Mammuthus columbii); primigenius having never ranged so far south as far as we know.

    Columbian mammoths were bigger and taller than woolly mammoths, and less hairy. Seen here with a mastodont (background)

    images?q=tbn%3AANd9GcTyMJtT-0fJ1aT2Xokxpy0uBJ0gzTklgo1_i3PddQOzT0YtKS4E


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 13,993 ✭✭✭✭ recedite


    Not quite the same method though. With cliffs the hunters would have to climb down and approach the injured/dead mammoth, without being sure how badly injured the animal was.
    If the mammoth then got to its feet, they would find themselves in a much more dangerous situation than the pit hunters were in.


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 5,279 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Adam Khor


    Tech radar uncovers "ghost" footprints from mammoths (also humans and giant sloths)

    https://www.sciencealert.com/innovative-radar-tech-offers-a-new-look-at-ancient-human-and-mammoth-footprints

    white-sands-2.jpg


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 5,279 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Adam Khor


    Giant elephant Palaeoloxodon evolved strange head crest for extra muscle attachment as its head grew more massive ?

    http://www.sci-news.com/paleontology/palaeoloxodon-evolution-08045.html

    This is the genus that includes the largest known land-dwelling mammal, Palaeoloxodon namadicus.

    image_8045-Palaeoloxodon-antiquus.jpg


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 5,279 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Adam Khor


    Inbreeding caused deleterious mutations among the very last woolly mammoths on Earth, study suggests:

    https://phys.org/news/2020-02-scientists-resurrected-wrangel-island-mammoth.html?fbclid=IwAR0syUgRbZx4-oHDXUii06qJLGMaDnioHJT7XpOJEEFnJSYGl9EQL7tXCFY

    scientistsre.png
    The research builds on prior work by other scientists, such as a 2017 paper in which a different research team identified potentially detrimental genetic mutations in the Wrangel Island mammoth, estimated to be a part of a population containing only a few hundred members of the species.

    "The results are very complementary," Lynch says. "The 2017 study predicts that Wrangel Island mammoths were accumulating damaging mutations. We found something similar and tested those predictions by resurrecting mutated genes in the lab. The take-home message is that the last mammoths may have been pretty sick and unable to smell flowers, so that's just sad."


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 5,279 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Adam Khor




  • Registered Users Posts: 8,551 ✭✭✭ Rubecula


    sad about the African big tusjers going the way of tge megafauna of the past due to poachers imo.


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 5,279 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Adam Khor


    Very interesting find!

    Woolly mammoths apparently had a mysterious expansion- shaped like a cobra's hood, say the researchers- in the lower third of the trunk, which may have functioned as either a "mitten" to protect the trunk "fingers" from the cold OR to melt snow into drinkable water.

    st8.jpg

    https://siberiantimes.com/science/others/features/did-extinct-woolly-mammoths-have-heaters-to-melt-snow-in-their-trunks/


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 5,279 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Adam Khor




  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 5,279 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Adam Khor


    Remains of prehistoric elephant Palaeoloxodon found in Germany:

    http://www.sci-news.com/archaeology/straight-tusked-elephant-skeleton-schoningen-08449.html

    image_8449_2e-Schoningen-Elephant.jpg


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  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 5,279 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Adam Khor


    Remains of around 60 Columbian mammoths found during airport construction in Mexico:

    https://www.livescience.com/mammoth-graveyard-mexico-airport.html

    Mamuts-Hallazgos-en-Santa-Lucia-01-640x360.jpg


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