What Californian pygmy mammoths ate

This May 2015 video from the USA says about itself:

The Pygmy Mammoths on the Santa Barbara Channel Islands, California.

From Quaternary International:

5 January 2016

Dietary reconstruction of pygmy mammoths from Santa Rosa Island of California


Microwear analyses have proven to be reliable for elucidating dietary differences in taxa with similar gross tooth morphologies. We analyzed enamel microwear of a large sample of Channel Island pygmy mammoth (Mammuthus exilis) molars from Santa Rosa Island, California and compared our results to those of extant proboscideans, extant ungulates, and mainland fossil mammoths and mastodons from North America and Europe.

Our results show a distinct narrowing in mammoth dietary niche space after mainland mammoths colonized Santa Rosa as M. exilis became more specialized on browsing on leaves and twigs than the Columbian mammoth and modern elephant pattern of switching more between browse and grass. Scratch numbers and scratch width scores support this interpretation as does the Pleistocene vegetation history of Santa Rosa Island whereby extensive conifer forests were available during the last glacial when M. exilis flourished.

The ecological disturbances and alteration of this vegetation (i.e., diminishing conifer forests) as the climate warmed suggests that climatic factors may have been a contributing factor to the extinction of M. exilis on Santa Rosa Island in the Late Pleistocene.

4 thoughts on “What Californian pygmy mammoths ate

  1. Pingback: Columbian mammoth discovery in Oklahoma, USA | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Pingback: North American mammoths, new study | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  3. Pingback: Strange mammoth discovered in California, USA | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  4. Pingback: Californian islands’ small mammoths | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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