Woolly Mammoth Extinction Associated with Inbreeding, Climatic Changes: Study
By Parismita Goswami | March 26, 2014 6:55 PM EST
The woolly mammoth, one of the prehistoric animals that looked like present day elephants, suffered from birth defects in its last years before extinction. The changing climatic conditions associated with inbreeding was the main factor that led to extinction of woolly mammoth, according to a new study.
Woolly Mammoth Extinction Associated With Inbreeding and Climatic Changes: Study Finds
The study was conducted by researchers from Rotterdam Museum of Natural History and the Naturalis Biodiversity Center in Leiden. They believe that such factors add on to reproductive related stress.
While studying the fossil remains of 12,000-year-old mammoth that was discovered near the North Sea, researchers found that woolly mammoths possessed a cervical rib or neck rib.
Cervical ribs are located in the neck on the cervical vertebrae and this change is the result of environmental stress and genetic mutation during pregnancy, which in turn is associated with still births and abnormalities.
They have also found that the formation of cervical ribs were more common in North Sea woolly mammoths than in today's elephants and were astonished to find such numbers of cervical ribs among them.
"It had aroused our curiosity to find two cervical vertebrae, with large articulation facets for ribs, in the mammoth samples recently dredged from the North Sea. We knew these were just about the last mammoths living there, so we suspected something was happening. Our work now shows that there was indeed a problem in this population," said Jelle Reumer, an author of the study and a paleontologist at the Natural History Museum of Rotterdam and Utrecht University, in a statement.
"The high incidence and large size of the cervical ribs in woolly mammoths indicates a strong vulnerability, given the association of cervical ribs with diseases and congenital abnormalities in mammals. The vulnerable condition may well have contributed to the eventual extinction of the woolly mammoths." said a researcher.
The team of researchers thus conclude that such developmental abnormalities resulted in the extinction of the woolly mammoths.
To contact the editor, e-mail:
Most Popular Slideshows
- Manny Pacquiao Vs. Chris Algieri World Tour Kick Off Press Conference In Macau [PHOTOS]
- 2014 US Open Update (Day 4 - Men's Singles): Murray, Djokovic, Raonic and Isner Advance to 3rd Round [PHOTOS]
- Prince Harry & Camilla Thurlow Getting Serious, St. Tropez Holiday Before The Prince’s 30th Birthday [PHOTOS]
- Kate Middleton’s Mom Accused Of Being A Social Climber, Prince George Not Seen By Relatives
Join the Conversation
- Ice Bucket Challenge Toddler Scarlett-Rose Davis Who Uses F-Word Apologises - Watch Original Video
- New Nail Polish Changes Colour When Exposed to Date-Rape Drugs: Helps Women Safety
- A Fish That Walks; Scientists Find A Fish That Does Better On Land Than Water[Video]
- Underground Eruption of A Volcano Noticed As Powerful Earthquakes Rock Iceland
- Tiny Beads Found In Shampoo And Exfoliants Are A Threat to the Sydney Harbour
- Sept 19 iPhone 6 Release Date Confirmed as Apple Sets Sept 9 iWatch, 2 iPhones Intro - Report
- Hundreds of Men Rape Teen for Three Years
- iPhone 6 Release Date Update: 4.7-Inch Model Scores 65.8% In Screen-To-Size Ratio; A Surprise Entry Scales Top Spot [List Attached]
- Product Recall Alert: Hewlett-Packard Pulls Out 6M Power Cords from US, Canada Over Fire Hazard Concerns, Australia Also Affected
- ISIS Wants $6.6M and Release of Aafia Siddiqui in Exchange of Head of Female US Humanitarian Aid Worker, 1st American Fighting for Jihadis Dead
- Ukraine Ceasefire Looks Remote As Putin Talks Tough At Meeting With Poroshenko
- Google Nexus 6 Release May Be the New Google Nexus X Smartphone as New Details Emerge