Mammoths with different coat colours?


From LiveScience:

Beastly Colors: Mammoth Blondes and Really Hairy Brunettes

By Ker Than

LiveScience Staff Writer

posted: 06 July 2006

Museum dioramas typically portray mammoths as having shaggy brown coats, but some of the hairy beasts might have been blonde, raven-haired or red-bodied in real life, thanks to a gene that controls hair color in humans and other mammals.

By examining DNA extracted from a mammoth bone frozen in Siberian permafrost and comparing it with sequences from other mammoth remains, researchers have concluded that the wooly creatures probably carried two versions of Mc1r, a gene whose protein product helps determine hair color in several mammals, including humans, mice, horses and dogs.

The two versions differed by three amino acids, or DNA “letters.”

One would have been partially active and the other fully active.

Mammoths with the partially active version of Mc1r would likely have had light-colored coats, the researchers say, while those with the active version would have had dark hair.

Pleistocene La Brea tar pits in California: here.

Why are some animals brightly coloured, others camouflaged? Here.

Why do animals, especially males, have so many different colors? Here.

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2 thoughts on “Mammoths with different coat colours?

  1. Burping bacteria cause La Brea tar pits to bubble

    LOS ANGELES (AP) – A newly discovered bacteria is bubbling in the goo at La Brea tar pits.

    The bacteria in natural asphalt munch on petroleum at the popular site and burp up methane gas, University of California, Riverside, researchers said.

    Previously, educators suspected the methane bubbles were a byproduct of oil creation 304 metres below the surface.

    “I was totally surprised, but totally delighted,” said paleontologist John Harris, chief curator at the Page Museum where tar pit fossils are collected. “The tar pits are world-famous already for fossils, but this is another claim to fame.”

    During the past century, scientists and volunteers scouring the Wilshire Boulevard tar pits have unearthed the relics of 600 types of animals and plants from the last great Ice Age. Some fossils are 40,000 years old.

    However, as many as 300 bacteria found in tar pit samples were previously unknown, researchers said.

    Harris said the excavation had focused mostly on dead things.

    “We weren’t looking for stuff living in it,” he said.

    La Brea and the Page Museum are a popular tourist attraction; details at

    This story was posted on Sat, May 26, 2007


  2. Pingback: Scotland: giant centipede, crocodile, and other fossils brought back to life | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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