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Alaska Beat

Did mammoths migrate south, too?

  • Author: Craig Medred
  • Updated: September 27, 2016
  • Published June 19, 2011

Scientists are always dissecting something. These days, it appears that prehistoric DNA seems to be adding to the rich and fascinating narrative of Wooly mammoths. The first complete mitochondrial genome of mammoths from farther south -- the Columbian mammoth -- has revealed that northern woolies may have at some point migrated south and mated with the middle America roaming mastodons. Or maybe the southerly mammoths headed north and mated with woolies. At least two Columbian mammoths that lived about 12,000 years ago in Utah and Wyoming have genetic evidence of having mated with wooly mammoths, according to Canadian scientists. "We are talking about two very physically different 'species' here … When glacial times got nasty, it was likely that woolies moved to the more pleasant conditions of the south, where they came into contact with the Columbians at some point in their evolutionary history," the study concluded. Read more here.

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