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Re: DINOSAUR digest 399
>I thought the dwarf elephants Betty described were actually dwarf Mammoths
>that lasted on the island (which had been part of a larger landmass prior to
>the isolation of the island). They supposedly survived until about 3000 years
>ago. I also think that the island in question was further north closer to
>Western Canada and Alaska.
I think you are thinking of Wrangell Island off Western Canada. There
were also pygmy mammoths on the Santa Barbara Channel Islands off the
coast of Southern California. There is some evidence that the mammoths
on both islands survived until the arrival of humans. The pygmy mammoths
on the Santa Barbara Channels Islands appear to have evolved from the
much larger mammoths found nearby on the mainland during the pleistocene.
Even during the lowest sea levels during the pleistocene, the islands were
isolated by a few miles of ocean. It is presumed enough mammoths made
the swim to the islands to establish a breeding population, which then
started evolving into a pygmy species. Most of today's channel islands
were joined during the pleistocene, but became separated and dry areas
smaller as sea levels rose.