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09-08-2019, 22:53   #46
Adam Khor
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Originally Posted by Rubecula View Post
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.



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.



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).





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.



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.
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08-11-2019, 17:56   #47
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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.

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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.
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08-11-2019, 18:05   #48
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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.
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08-11-2019, 21:24   #49
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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...

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08-11-2019, 22:20   #50
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Neandertals on the island of Jersey appear to have done similar, though being lazy/more laid back they did use a natural cliff.
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09-11-2019, 01:53   #51
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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)

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09-11-2019, 09:50   #52
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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.
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14-11-2019, 20:40   #53
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Tech radar uncovers "ghost" footprints from mammoths (also humans and giant sloths)

https://www.sciencealert.com/innovat...oth-footprints

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