Sunday, June 16, 2013

Mammoths not massacred!

Contrary to popular belief, Stone Age Siberians did not slaughter mammoths in great numbers. Researchers Pavel Nikolskiy and Vladimir Pitulko of the Russian Academy of Sciences have determined that their ancient hunting patterns were not responsible for the animals' extinction. When they did kill, the natives definitely exploited the mammoth's vulnerabilities. “Yana people definitely attacked from the mammoth’s blind spot,” says Nikolskiy. He and his colleague assessed 1,103 bones from at least 31 mammoths that had accumulated at Yana over 2,000 years and found that while Siberian people ate mammoth meat after hunts, food was not their primary goal. They needed the ivory of their curved tusks to make tools and hunting weapons. But unlike many of their North American and European counterparts, the Siberians only sought out the mammoths every few years.

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