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Posts Tagged ‘paleontology’

It’s not from elephants, though, and no animals are killed for it.  Mammoth ivory, the NY Times tells us, is a commodity in increasing abundance as the arctic tundra of Siberia is melting.

There’s a lot of it out there to be found, apparently:

The Siberian permafrost blankets millions of square miles, ranging in depth from a few feet to more than a mile and resembling frozen spinach.

Hidden in one of the upper layers of this mass, corresponding to the Pleistocene Epoch, are the remains of an estimated 150 million mammoths.

The trend has conservationists delighted that it leaves living animals less threatened.  Palaeontologists, though, are less sanguine.  As author Andrew Kramer writes:

In their growth rings and possible prehistoric human butcher marks, [mammoth tusks] hold a wealth of data on the ancient climate and peoples of Siberia that could shed light on, among other things, the debate about whether climate change or overhunting, or both, felled the mammoths.

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