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Re: Pygmy mammoths (slightly off topic)

In a message dated 97-08-28 03:19:36 EDT, dannj@alphalink.com.au writes:

> "Pygmy" mammoths are known from islands off northern Europe, and
>  have been dated to around 4,000 years ago or there abouts. They
>  assumedly evolved from much larger ancestors. 

The January, 1994, issue of _Discover_ magazine had an article on pygmy
mammoths from Wrangel Island, 90 miles off the northeast coast of Russia.

Fossils (teeth) from the island dating to 12,000 to 13,000 years ago are
normal mammoth size.  Teeth from between 4,000 and 7,000 ya were 20 to 25%
smaller than usual.  The latest remains, bits of tusk and bone, are from
about 3,730 yrs. old.

The late survival of these mammoths is attributed to fatcors including
absence of human hunters (Eskimos first arrived on the island about 3,230 ya)
and the continued existence on Wrangel of dry conditions favorable to
grasses, the mammoths' food, while the rest of the Arctic got soggy and