Woolly Mammoths May Have Lived Alongside The First Humans In New England

New research has shown that furry mammoths and humans can live side by side in modern-day England. Scientists have used carbon dating to find out how old the famous Mount Holy Mammoth fossil is, as published in the journal Boreas. It turns out that 12,800 years ago it was roaming Northeast America, almost when people came to this region. Fossils discovered from a peat bog near Mount Holly in 1848 when the Vermont railway line built. Two tusks, a molasses and many bones found and then divided into different collections. A rib piece of hood in Hanover, New Hampshire became part of the Museum of Art, and researchers knew more about this specimen of America’s lost megafauna.

Co-author Dr Nathaniel Kitchel from Dartmouth College said in a statement, “It has long been thought that megafunas and humans in New England do not depend on time and space, and perhaps environmental change ultimately led to the extinction of these animals in the region, but our research provides some first-hand evidence that they may actually coexist.” 

The researchers extracted about 1 gram of material from the ribs and analyzed it to estimate the isotopic concentration. Each chemical element comes in different isotopes. They have the same chemical properties but have different neutrons in their core. Many of these isotopes are slightly radioactive and over time become stable isotopes, which is not the case. By comparing the ratios of these isotopes, scientists can learn a great deal, based on the concentration of carbon-14 and how much it died earlier based on its decay stage (hence carbon dating), including nitrogen-using diets. The carbon footprint at the time of larger deaths is of course important to understand, nitrogen is also extremely valuable, possibly why we need to understand why these animals died.

Kitchel and co-author Jeremy DeSilva found that Mount Holly mammoths in northeastern America had the lowest nitrogen values ​​and had the lowest record of these animals worldwide. It suggested that these animals had to eat alder or lichen during the last ice age, when the landscape degraded due to climate warming. Human interactions with woolly mammoths have extensively covered in the American Midwest, but this is the first temporary evidence that it may have occurred east of the continent. The argument that mammoths and other megafauna have become extinct due to overcrowding or climate change has long been widespread.

Previous research has shown that people hunted and buried mammoths in peat bogies to preserve their meat, but there is very little evidence that early humans in New England did so. De Silva said, “Mount Holy Mammoth is one of the most famous mammoths in the Northeast.” Although our research shows that there was a temporary overlap between mammoths and humans, this does not mean that people saw these animals or had anything to do with their deaths. Now it is possible that they did.”