Home NewsNorth America Ancient mammoth tusk discovered in deep ocean off California coast

Ancient mammoth tusk discovered in deep ocean off California coast

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Identified for roaming the planet for million of years, mammoth fossils have been discovered internationally not simply on land, however in locations like rivers and lakes.

But, scientists have been nonetheless blown away to discover a mammoth tusk sitting 1000’s of ft deep within the ocean.

In 2019, pilot Randy Prickett and scientist Steven Haddock from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Analysis Institute have been exploring the ocean ground round 10,000 ft deep and 185 miles off the coast of California once they noticed what seemed to be an elephant tusk.

The 2 have been solely in a position to take a small piece of the tusk, and in July this 12 months, lastly returned to the location of it to retrieve your entire tusk.

Prickett and Haddock introduced on Monday that with the assistance of researchers from the College of California, Santa Cruz and the College of Michigan, they had decided the tusk really had belonged to a Columbian mammoth.

“You begin to ‘anticipate the sudden’ when exploring the deep sea, however I’m nonetheless surprised that we came across the traditional tusk of a mammoth,” Haddock said in a statement.

MBARI Senior Scientist Steven Haddock (left), UC Santa Cruz postdoctoral researcher Katie Moon (center), and University of Michigan paleontologist Daniel Fisher (right) prepare to clean the large tusk piece in the ship’s laboratory.

Mammoths arrived on what’s now North America round a million years in the past and developed into the Columbian mammoth, which stood over 14-feet tall and weighed round 20,000 kilos, according to the National Park Service.

A significant distinction between the woolly mammoth and the Columbian mammoth was the latter didn’t have a lot hair as a result of North America was comparatively hotter than the remainder of the world. Columbian mammoths weren’t solely one of many largest mammoths on the planet, however additionally they had one of many largest tusks, normally so long as 16 ft. The species went extinct at the very least 10,000 years in the past.

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Researchers stated the found tusk, which was round three ft, was more than likely preserved because of the outdated, high-pressure atmosphere of the deep sea, however College of Michigan paleontologist Daniel Fisher stated the invention is in contrast to something seen earlier than.

“Different mammoths have been retrieved from the ocean, however typically not from depths of various tens of meters,” Fisher stated. 

Randy Prickett (left) pilots the ROV Doc Ricketts while MBARI Senior Scientist Steven Haddock (right) documents the tusk before beginning the retrieval operation.

The workforce of researchers imagine the tusk is the oldest well-preserved mammoth tusk ever found in North America, as preliminary take a look at of it present it is at the very least 100,000 years outdated. 

The workforce plans to do extra analysis, together with investigating how way back the tusk arrived within the deep ocean, in addition to trying again at ocean currents to see the place the tusk could have initially come from. The workforce additionally hopes extra evaluation will present a higher understanding on the evolution of mammoths and what life was like in North America.

“Specimens like this current a uncommon alternative to color an image each of an animal that was alive and of the atmosphere by which it lived,” stated Beth Shapiro, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at UC Santa Cruz. “Mammoth stays from continental North America are significantly uncommon, and so we anticipate that DNA from this tusk will go far to refine what we find out about mammoths on this a part of the world.”

Comply with Jordan Mendoza on Twitter: @jordan_mendoza5.

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