‘This is an Indiana Jones mixed with Jurassic Park moment:’ Experts discover three-foot mammoth tusk 10,000 feet below the ocean surface off California coast

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  • Experts confirm that an ‘ancient’ tooth recovered 10,000 feet below the sea belongs to a Colombian giant
  • The tusk was first seen in 2019 about 185 miles off the California coast near Monterey
  • They returned in July 2021 to pick up the three-foot-long tooth and determined it was ‘unique’ protected by the cold, high-pressure environment of the deep ocean
  • It is not clear how old the tooth is, but it may be over 100,000 years old.
  • The Colombian Mammoth was modeled after the Woolly Mammoth was bred with the Krestovka Mammoth

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Scientists have confirmed that an ‘ancient’ tooth recovered 10,000 feet below the ocean’s surface belongs to a young mammoth.

A team of researchers from UC Santa Cruz, the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, and the University of Michigan were traversing the ocean floor about 185 miles off the California coast near Monterey in 2019 when they noticed what looked like an ivory tusk. and picked up one. small piece.

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They returned in July 2021 to collect the entire specimen, and after further investigation, they determined the three-foot-long tooth, which is ‘unique’ protected by the cold, high-pressure environment of the deep ocean, belonged to a Colombian giant.

At this time, it’s not clear how old the tooth is, but Dr. Terence Blackburn, a researcher at UC Santa Cruz, told the New York Times It may be over 100,000 years old.

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Experts confirm that an ‘ancient’ tooth recovered 10,000 feet below the sea belongs to a Colombian giant

Experts said the three-foot-long tooth was 'uniquely' preserved from the cold, high-pressure environment of the deep ocean.

Experts said the three-foot-long tooth was ‘uniquely’ preserved from the cold, high-pressure environment of the deep ocean.

The tusk was first seen in 2019 about 185 miles off the California coast near Monterey

The tusk was first seen in 2019 about 185 miles off the California coast near Monterey

Blackburn’s lab is analyzing the tooth using CT scans, a method that would reveal not only the age of the animal, but the complete three-dimensional internal structure of the tooth and other information.

“Specimens like these present a rare opportunity to paint a picture of an animal that was alive and the environment it lived in,” said UC Santa Cruz professor Beth Shapiro. Statement,

‘The mammoth remains of continental North America are particularly rare, and so we expect that DNA from this tooth will go a long way in refining what we know about the mammoth in this part of the world.’

It's likely that the tusk belonged to a young female mammoth, as postdoctoral researcher Katherine Moon (left) in Shapiro's lab took DNA evidence from the tip that was first discovered in 2019.

It’s likely that the tusk belonged to a young female mammoth, as postdoctoral researcher Katherine Moon (left) in Shapiro’s lab took DNA evidence from the tip that was first discovered in 2019.

It’s likely that the tusk belonged to a young female mammoth, the Times reported, as postdoctoral researcher Katherine Moon in Shapiro’s lab took DNA evidence from the tip first discovered in 2019.

At this point, researchers are unsure how the tusk made its way to the bottom of the ocean floor, even though the animal died on land.

The tooth was initially retrieved by a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) called Dock Ricketts.

When the researchers went back to the tooth in July, they added household sponges and plastic fingers to the end of the ROV’s arms to make it easier to lift.

They also took photos and videos to create a 3-D model in case it breaks during recovery.

“You start to expect the ‘unexpected’ when exploring the deep ocean, but I’m still stunned that we came upon the ancient tooth of a mammoth,” senior scientist Steven Haddock said in the statement.

‘We are grateful to a multidisciplinary team analyzing this remarkable specimen, including a geologist, oceanographer from UCSC, and paleontologists and paleontologists from the University of Michigan.

‘Our work investigating this exciting discovery is just beginning and we look forward to sharing more information in the future.’

It is not clear how old the tooth is, but it may be over 100,000 years old.

It is not clear how old the tooth is, but it may be over 100,000 years old.

Colombian Mammoth

Portrait of the Colombian Mammoth, 1909 by Charles R. Knight

Portrait of the Colombian Mammoth, 1909 by Charles R. Knight

Unlike the woolly cousins ​​of the Colombian mammoth, which lived in the cold tundra, there was very little fur.

The giants were up to 15 feet in length, weighed up to 22,000 pounds, and their teeth were up to 16 feet long. His estimated lifespan was also around 65 years.

They are one of the last lineages of giant extinct in the world and were wiped out about 12,000 years ago.

The Colombian mammoth is native to North America as far north as North America and as far south as Costa Rica.

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Dick Moll, a paleontologist at the Historyland Museum, told the Times that giant teeth older than 100,000 years are ‘extremely rare’.

However, the tooth was covered in a thick layer of iron-manganese crust, which is abundant in the deep ocean and has probably been there for at least a few thousand years.

About 200,000 years ago, the Earth went through a glacial period in which the ancestors of mankind were migrating from Africa. It is possible that mammoths also migrated out of Africa, but it is not clear how they arrived.

‘We really don’t know much about what was happening during that time,’ Daniel Fischer, a paleontologist at the University of Michigan, told the Times.

‘We don’t have access to a lot of samples from this time period and this is due in large part to the fact that sediments from this era are difficult to access.’

In the statement Fischer, who specializes in the study of mammoths and mastodons, said: ‘The deep-sea protected environment of this specimen is different from almost anything we have seen elsewhere.

‘Other mammoths have been obtained from the oceans, but generally not from depths exceeding a few tens of metres.’

Nonetheless, researchers are excited by the discovery and its potential as it relates to learning more about the animal’s age and life.

“We’re all incredibly excited,” Moon told the Times. ‘It’s Indiana Jones mixed with Jurassic Park moment.’

Less known than their famous ancestor, the woolly mammoth (pictured), the Colombian mammoth was modeled after the woolly mammoth in North America along with the Krestovka mammoth

Less well-known than their famous ancestor, the woolly mammoth (pictured), Colombian mammoths were modeled after the wool…

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