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Finding mammoth tusks at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean astounds scientists

Finding mammoth tusks at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean astounds scientists

MBARI scientist Stephen Haddock observes the internal structure of the canine.

MBARI scientist Stephen Haddock observes the internal structure of the canine.
Photo: Darren Schultz © 2021 MBARI

Marine biologists expect to find all kinds of strange things in the deep sea, but mammoth tusks aren’t one of them.

Marine biologist Stephen Haddock and ROV pilot Randy Prickett first discovered the canine in 2019 while aboard an R/V Western Flyer, it seemed as if that they’Dr found an elephant’s tusk. As members of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) expedition, the duo were examining a deep-sea mountain about 185 miles (300 km) off the California coast.

Haddock and Brickett returned to the scene in July 2021, only being able to recover a small portion of the tusk during their first visit. using ROV Doc Ricketts and work at a depth of more than 10000 feet (3,070 metres), they managed to collect a full 3 feet (1 metre) lengthThe canine, according to MBARI press release. Returning to shore, the team was able to confirm that the tusk belonged to an extinct Colombian mammoth (Colombian mammoths).

Haddock wrote, “In the deep sea we find so many amazing animals that people don’t think existed on Earth, but finding this giant tusk, so deep and so far from shore, was by far the most incredible thing.” me in a letter.

Randy Prickett (left) driving the MBARI ROV, while scientist Stephen Haddock (right) documents a mammoth tusk prior to the retrieve.

Randy Prickett (left) driving the MBARI ROV, while scientist Stephen Haddock (right) documents a mammoth tusk prior to the retrieve.
Photo: Darren Schultz © 2021 MBARI

“When it became clear to us that this was actually a giant, my head started spinning imagining how it had reached the top of this distant seamount,” he added. “It’s still hard for me to believe how it stayed there for thousands of years without being destroyed or buried before we stumbled upon it.”

Fantastic keep post-Mammoth’s tusk is made undated thanks to the extreme coldIn a press release, University of Michigan paleontologist Daniel Fisher and a member of the investigation team explained that the pressure environment in the deep ocean, “is unlike anything we’ve seen almost anywhere else.” “Other mammoths have been recovered from the ocean, but generally not from depths of more than a few tens of metres.”

Haddock (left), Katie Moon, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, Santa Cruz (center), and University of Michigan paleontologist Daniel Fisher (right) inspect the massive tusk in the ship's lab.

Haddock (left), Katie Moon, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, Santa Cruz (center), and University of Michigan paleontologist Daniel Fisher (right) inspect the massive tusk in the ship’s lab.
Photo: Darren Schultz © 2021 MBARI

It’s hard to know exactly how mammoth tusks are It’s all over offshore, but scientists have seen this kind of thing before. animal carcasses both from Cretaceous dinosaurs or modern crocodileSometimes you will sink to the bottom of the sea After drifting into the ocean, whether by tides, floods, or a tsunami. that happens.

A multidisciplinary team of scientists, including paleontologists, geneticists, oceanographers, and geologists, plans to study canines from all kinds of different angles. A CT scan will provide 3D viewsRevealing its composition and internal structure. The team will also attempt to extract and sequence the mammoth’s DNA. Together, these techniques can shed light on the animal’s history, age, and lineage. Most importantly, they It could also reveal new insights into the evolution and spread of mammoths in North America.

Haddock and Fisher, along with oceanographers from the University of California, Santa Cruz, are trying to narrow down possible locations on Earth where mammoths could have originated. The mineral crusts on the tusks could indicate how long they had been on the sea floor, while the rebound of ancient ocean currents could indicate their coastal starting point. “We were wondering if he could drift all the way from Alaska, or if he took the short way off the California coast. “Keep in touch for our conclusions,” Haddock told me.

In fact, this is all very preliminary, as scientists take this opportunity to announce the discovery of the specimen and reveal the research methods chosen. This mammoth tusk has stories to tell, and we look closely to the details.

more: Unsteady video shows what happens to a dead crocodile at the bottom of the sea.

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