A woolly mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius) carcass from Maly Lyakhovsky Island (New Siberian Islands, Russian Federation)

Semyon E. Grigoriev, Daniel C. Fisher, Theodor Obadă, Ethan A. Shirley, Adam N. Rountrey, Grigory N. Savvinov, Darima K. Garmaeva, Gavril P. Novgorodov, Maksim Yu Cheprasov, Sergei E. Vasilev, Artemiy E. Goncharov, Alexey Masharskiy, Viktoriya E. Egorova, Palmira P. Petrova, Eya E. Egorova, Yana A. Akhremenko, Johannes van der Plicht, Alexei A. Galanin, Sergei E. Fedorov, Evgeny V. IvanovAlexei N. Tikhonov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

A partial carcass of an adult woolly mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius) found in 2012 on Maly Lyakhovsky Island presents a new opportunity to retrieve associated anatomical, morphological, and life history data on this important component of Pleistocene biotas. In addition, we address hematological, histological, and microbiological issues that relate directly to quality of preservation. Recovered by staff from North-Eastern Federal University in Yakutsk, this individual is a relatively old female preserving soft tissue of the anteroventral portion of the head, most of both fore-quarters, and the ventral aspect of much of the rest of the body. Both tusks were recovered and subjected to computed tomographic analysis in which annual dentin increments were revealed as cycles of variation in X-ray attenuation. Measurements of annual increment areas (in longitudinal section) display a pulsed pattern of tusk growth showing cycles of growth rate variation over periods of 3–5 years. These intervals are interpreted as calving cycles reflecting regular shifts in calcium and phosphate demand for tusk growth vs. fetal ossification and lactation. Brown liquid associated with the frozen carcass turned out to include remains of hemolyzed blood, and blood samples examined microscopically included white blood cells with preserved nuclei. Muscle tissue from the trunk was unusually well preserved, even at the histological level. Intestinal contents and tissue samples were investigated microbiologically, and several strains of lactic-acid bacteria (e.g., Enterococcus faecium, Enterococcus hirae) that are widely distributed as commensal organisms in the intestines of herbivores were isolated.

Translated title of the contributionОстанки шерстистого мамонта, найденные на острове Малый Ляховский (Новосибирские острова, РФ)
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-103
Number of pages15
JournalQuaternary International
Volume445
DOIs
StatePublished - 25 Jul 2017

Scopus subject areas

  • Earth-Surface Processes

Keywords

  • Late Pleistocene
  • Life history
  • Maly Lyakhovsky Island
  • Mammuthus primigenius
  • Permafrost
  • Soft tissue preservation

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