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Woolly Mammoth Fossils Indicate Nature Of Modern Humans Living 45,000 Years Ago

Update Date: Jan 18, 2016 03:51 PM EST

It happened in August 2012 when the leg bones of a woolly mammoth were found on the coast of Yenisei Bay, which was 2,000 kilometers south of the North Pole. The bones were just coming out of frozen sediments.

Scientists found from the unique wounds that they had been killed with spears. It was amazing that the fossils dated back to 45,000 years ago, meaning that humans roamed the earth with spears in the Arctic almost 10,000 years earlier than thought.

The new study was by scientists from the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Analysing the fossils highlighted some hunting techniques rather like modern ones. Hence, African elephant hunters tended to target the trunk's base, so that they could cut the arteries and lead to bleeding.

Other jaw injuries suggested that the tongue was cut out.

"This is a rare case for unequivocal evidence for clear human involvement," Vladimir Pitulko, lead author of the study, said in a press release.

Techniques were performed on the collagen collected from the mammoth's tibia bone, hair and muscle tissue in order to arrive at the age.

"The dating is compelling. It's likely older than 40,000," said Douglas Kennett, an environmental archaeologist who also did not participate in the study.

These wounds are just like those spotted in another mammoth in Siberia.

"One can almost see the blow-by-blow battle between people and mammoth fought on those frozen plains," said Curtis Marean, a paleoanthropologist who was not involved with the study. "The impact wounds on the bones with embedded stone fragments is conclusive evidence that people had slain this mammoth."

"Surviving at those latitudes requires highly specialized technology and extreme cooperation," Marean added. "If these hunters could survive in the Arctic Circle 45,000 years ago, they could have lived virtually anywhere on Earth."

The findings were published in the Jan.15,2016 issue of Science.

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