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

Abstract

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.

Extinct Ice Age elephant discovery in England


This is a 1961 Spanish video, about a fossil Palaeoloxodon antiquus elephant, discovered in the Manzanares river in Madrid.

From the BBC:

Isle of Wight extinct elephant fossil on display in Sandown

2 January 2016

A fossil from an extinct species of elephant dating back 100,000 years has gone on display on the Isle of Wight.

The shoulder bone of the Palaeoloxodon antiquus was found protruding from the sand on the west coast of the island by local resident Paul Hollingshead.

The bone is at the Dinosaur Isle museum in Sandown and is thought to date from the Eemian interglacial period.

Mr Hollingshead said: “I was shocked how big it was and spent around two and a half-hours digging it out.”

He found the bone back in March but the museum said it had taken a long time to conserve so that it was fit for display.

Alex Peaker from Dinosaur Isle said: “You don’t really associate elephants with the Isle of Wight but this find shows they did roam the island many years ago.”

Mr Hollingshead, who has donated the bone to the museum, said: “I remember it was a big five-metre tide, so I knew the water would go out a long way, when I saw what looked like a bit of bone showing from the sand.

“I stopped and realised it was a bit bigger, so I started clearing all of the sand and stones away from it.

“I was hoping it was a dinosaur bone, so was quite shocked to find out it was from an elephant.”

Big elephant survey in Africa


This is an African elephant video.

From National Geographic:

Largest Wildlife Census in History Makes Waves in Conservation

The full, data-driven story of Africa’s savanna elephants is now taking shape.

By Paul Steyn, for National Geographic

PUBLISHED January 04, 2016

Early findings from the largest ever aerial survey of African wildlife—the Great Elephant Census (GEC)—are proving that big data can make a big difference when it comes to saving the world’s largest land mammal.

The Africa-wide census, funded by Microsoft billionaire Paul G. Allen, took off in February 2014 with the objective of gaining a better understanding of elephant numbers across the continent.

Since then, 90 researchers from various organizations have joined aerial teams flying survey transects in 18 elephant range countries. From the sparkling desert floodplains of the Okavango Delta to the boundless savannas of Chad, the teams have racked up a combined distance of 285,000 miles (460,000 kilometers).  …

Preliminary results from the census have revealed both good and bad news for African elephants.

One of the most shocking discoveries is a 53 percent free fall in elephant numbers in Tanzania—from an estimated 109,000 animals in 2009 to 51,000 in 2015. A recent study published in the journal Science, showed that for more than a decade Tanzania has been the main source of illegal elephant ivory shipped out of East Africa.  …

Aside from huge declines not only in Tanzania but also Mozambique (which has seen a  48 percent loss of its elephants in just five years), the census has revealed positive stories.

Botswana’s elephant population has remained stable, with an estimated 129,939 recorded in 2014 (similar to 2013). Major strongholds are the Chobe, Savuti, and Okavango areas.

Uganda showed a surprising uptick, from fewer than 1,000 elephants during the 1970s and 1980s, when poaching was rampant, to an estimated 5,000 today.

Overall, Zimbabwe has lost only 6 percent of its elephants since 2001, also surprising considering the country’s economic and political woes. But locally, as in the Sebungwe region in the northwest, the picture has been grim: a 74 percent loss of elephants since 2001.

Woolly mammoth discovery in Michigan, USA


This video from the USA says about itself:

Woolly mammoth skeleton unearthed by Michigan farmers

3 October 2015

Two farmers in Michigan made an astonishing discovery when they unearthed the remains of a woolly mammoth while digging in a soybean field.

Experts say it is one of the most complete sets ever found in the state.

University of Michigan researchers say there is evidence the mammoth lived 11,700-15,000 years ago.

THE MAMMOTH COULD BE MAKING A COMEBACK “Dr. George Church, a molecular biologist at Harvard University who is working on such projects, estimates that a variation of the first new woolly mammoth (which disappeared some 4,000 years ago) may be born as soon as seven years from now.” [HuffPost]