Mammoth ivory found at the bottom of the Pacific shocked scientists

MBARI scientist Steven Haddock observes the internal structure of ivory.

MBARI scientist Steven Haddock observes the internal structure of ivory.
Photo: Darin Schultz © 2021 MBARI

Marine biologists hope to find all kinds of strange things in the deep sea, but mammoth ivory is not one of them.

Marine biologist Steven Haddock and ROV pilot Randy Prickett first discovered this ivory on R/V in 2019 Western flyerAnd it looks like them’d I found ivory by accident. As members of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) expedition, the duo are investigating deep sea mountains about 185 miles (300 kilometers) off the coast of California.

Haddock and Prickett returned to the scene in July 2021 because they could only retrieve a small portion of ivory during their initial visit.Use remotely operated submersibles Dr. Ricketts And work at a depth of more than 10,000 feet (3,070 Meters), they managed to collect the entire 3 feet long (1 meter) Ivory, according to MBARI Press release. Back ashore, the team was able to confirm that the ivory belonged to an extinct Colombian mammoth (Mammoth).

“In the deep sea, we found many amazing animals. People would not believe that these animals existed on the earth, but the discovery of this mammoth ivory, so deep and so far from the coast, is the least I have experienced so far. Possible things,” Haddock wrote. Give it to me in email.

Randy Prickett (left) drives the MBARI ROV, while scientist Steven Haddock (right) records the mammoth ivory before the retrieval operation.

Randy Prickett (left) drives the MBARI ROV, while scientist Steven Haddock (right) records the mammoth ivory before the retrieval operation.
Photo: Darin Schultz © 2021 MBARI

“When we realized that this was actually a mammoth, I began to imagine how it stopped on this remote seamount,” he added. “I still find it hard to believe how it was left there for thousands of years without being destroyed or buried before we stumbled upon it.”

Exquisitely preserved to dateUndated mammoth ivory is caused by cold, highDaniel Fisher, a paleontologist at the University of Michigan and a member of the investigative team, explained in a press release that the stressful environment of the deep ocean is “different from almost anything we see elsewhere.” “Other mammoths have been found from the ocean, but generally not from a depth of more than tens of meters.”

Haddock (left), UC Santa Cruz postdoctoral researcher Katie Moon (middle), and University of Michigan paleontologist Daniel Fisher (right) examine super-large tusks in the ship’s laboratory.

Haddock (left), UC Santa Cruz postdoctoral researcher Katie Moon (middle), and University of Michigan paleontologist Daniel Fisher (right) examine super-large tusks in the ship’s laboratory.
Photo: Darin Schultz © 2021 MBARI

It is difficult to know exactly how mammoth ivory is produced It ended up being far off shore, but scientists have seen this kind of thing before.Animal carcasses, are they from Cretaceous Dinosaurs or Modern crocodile, Sometimes sink to the bottom of the sea After being swept into the ocean by tides, floods or tsunamis. It happened.

An interdisciplinary team of scientists, including paleontologists, geneticists, oceanographers, and geochronologists, is now planning to study ivory from various angles. CT scan will provide a 3D view, Reveal its composition and internal structure. The team will also try to extract and sequence mammoth DNA. In short, these techniques can reveal the history, age, and ancestry of animals.The important thing is that they It can also reveal new insights into the evolution and spread of North American mammoths.

Haddock and Fisher and oceanographers at the University of California, Santa Cruz are trying to narrow down potential locations on land where the mammoth may originate. The mineral shell on the ivory can indicate how long it has stayed on the bottom of the sea, and the backtracking of ancient ocean currents can point to its coastal starting point. “We want to know if it can be drifted all the way from Alaska, or if it can be drifted a short distance from the coast of California. Please continue to follow our conclusions,” Haddock told me.

In fact, all of this is very preliminary, because scientists are taking this opportunity to announce the discovery of the specimen and disclose the chosen research approach. This mammoth ivory has a story to tell, and we look forward to the details.

more: Disturbing video showing the encounter of a dead crocodile under the sea.

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