Mammoth teeth from the late Acheulean stage 200,000 years ago have been discovered and are currently housed in the Ipswich Museum in Ipswich, United Kingdom.
Now researchers are aiming to test the 200,000-year-old fossil with the goal of obtaining genetic information never seen before in the history of archeology and genetic studies.
The fossilized teeth possibly encapsulate the oldest mammoth DNA in Britain and Europe.
With this, researchers from the National History Museum in London and Stockholm University in Sweden set out on a mission to reveal details behind the massive tusked animals that once roamed the earth.
A potential discovery of significant DNA data from the fossil could also shed light on the furious debate over whether early humans contributed to the extinction of mammoths or not.
New research, however, agrees with the prevailing evidence that climate change alone caused the extinction of the old elephants.
Mammoth Teeth DNA
(Photo: Photo by Krafft Angerer / Getty Images)
Researchers from the UK and Sweden will take samples of the mammoth teeth at an unspecified date.
The team hopes to get an older mammoth DNA compared to the currently oldest DNA samples from other mammoth teeth from 50,000 years ago, according to Dr. Simon Jackson of the Suffolk Museum, quoted by BBC.
The project comes from the assumption that the older Ipswich mammoth teeth could have preserved DNA, which Jackson reportedly told Local democracy reporting service.
Jackson added that finding relevant DNA from the Ipswich test could be groundbreaking and could serve as a basis for future research on mammoths.
What is a mammoth?
Mammoth (Mammuthus) is an extinct species of elephant that belongs to the family Elephantidae and ordering Proboscideacalled a group of truncated mammals proboscideans with some of its members surviving to the present day.
According to the University of California Museum of paleontologymammoths had their ancestral roots from the species African Mammoth (Mammuthus africanavus).
Researchers estimate that mammoths first developed and lived in what is now North Africa but disappeared about 3 or 4 million years ago.
The German scientist Johann Friedrich Blumenback first described the colossal tusked mammals in 1799 and gave the name Elephas primigenius after excavating elephant-like bones in Europe.
The presence of mammoths in Europe came when mammoths were believed to have traveled into Eurasia from Africa.
However, there were no reported mammoth fossils in Australia and South America, suggesting that the ancient animals had only a limited journey and originated in one region.
In an article by Smithsonian Magazine in July 2017, the magazine referred to now extinct animals such as cave hyenas, wombats, giant sloths and woolly mammoths as the “fantastic monster” of the earth that has disappeared hundreds of thousands or millions of years ago.
The disappearance of what are considered “strange” animals has led to the theory that early humans may have influenced the extinction of these large animals.
In 1966, Paul Martin, an American geoscientist and paleontologist, first proposed the “overkill hypothesis,” which states that the arrival of modern humans in certain parts of the world was both directly and indirectly involved in the extinction of beasts; either from hunting or competition.
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