Science

Chance to get your hand on Woolly Mammoth, the largest mammal that walked on Earth (Video+)

Here’s an incredible chance to get your hands on the well-preserved skeleton of the largest mammal — woolly mammoth that walked on Earth nearly twelve thousand years ago.

The 11ft 2in inches tall skeleteon is being sold at the auction house and the house expects the giant skeleton to sell anywhere between £250,000 and £440,000.

The auction house said: “The one here is the world’s biggest, privately-owned specimen. Sales of this kind of specimen are very rare.”

“This immediately sparked off a debate between scientists, who wanted to retain control of the fossil market, and modern art collectors, who were beginning to take an interest and pushing prices up,” say the auctioneers.

So how did Woolly Mammoth meet their final end?

One of the recent studies reported by a team of researchers in “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences” states that the mammoths died of thirst.

This was done using mammoth remains and radiocarbon dating wherein the researchers have found that dwindling freshwater due to climate change caused the mammoth to dry up. Their results—which also show that the St. Paul mammoths persisted for longer than originally thought, until about 5,600 years ago—pinpoints a specific mechanism that may threaten other coastal and island populations facing climate change today.

The changes in the climate have lead to a more arid land, which increases the capacity of evaporation and also limits the amount of rainwater collected in the lakes, which were the only sources of freshwater on St. Paul Island. Also, the sea level increases tainted the groundwater with saltwater.

The mammoth’s anatomy is such that it has thick hair impermeable to water; a body adapted to retain heat and is driven by the need to drink 70 to 100 gallons of water per day. Thus the unsuitable conditions of the land made the animal incapable of surviving. As water became scarcer, mammoths congregated near the islands lakes and exacerbated the freshwater’s disappearance.

“This research can and should serve as a model for those interested in other vertebrate extinctions during the past 50,000 years or so,” says Donald Grayson, a zoo-archaeologist at the University of Washington

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