Gold miners discovered three partial skeletons of three mammoths at the Little Flake mine near Dawson City, Yukon, Canada.
They may belong to the same family. They gave the bones to the Yukon Territory Government. “It looks like we have a large mammoth, a young adult, and a juvenile,” said Grant Zazula, the chief paleontologist of the Yukon Territory Government. Zazula told Live Science in an email.
Some bones are still connected (connected) to each other. The way the bones were found suggests that “the three mammoths may have lived and died together very close to where the fossil bones were found,” Zazula added. He said that even if they are not family members, they may be part of a larger group. Miners discovered the skeleton of a mammoth near the volcanic ash layer of the volcano, which may date back to about 29,000 years ago when a volcano in the Aleutian Islands erupted. Zazula said. Therefore, the mammoth is likely to be alive at the time of the eruption. Zazula noted that most of Canada were covered by glaciers at the time, and the area around Dawson City was one of the few areas without ice.
“The mining area inside the Yukon is part of the glacier-free landscape, called Bering, and is connected to Alaska and Siberia by the Bering Land Bridge,” Zazula said. “The climate is very cold and dry, and there may be no trees, which leads to the prevalence of grazing mammals,” Zazula points out. According to the Paleontological Museum of the University of California, approximately 35,000 to 18,000 years ago, the mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius) crossed the land bridge and entered North America. The dry environment there helps protect the three mammoths.
Zazula said that the weather is dry, and the wind can easily blow away the dust. This frozen silt can reach the gold-filled gravel at the bottom of the valley, and when they find it, they often find the remains of ice age animals,” “Three mammoths,” said Zazula, who pointed out that there may be more mammoths. “These wind-blown silt or loess filled these valleys with sediments,” which quickly covered the mammoths after their deaths. “Because they cover so quickly, the remains have less chance of exposure to oxygen and scavengers.
“Gold Miners will resume mining at this location in a few weeks, and our team will be able to see if there are more bones,” Zazula said. The cause of death of these three mammoths is not yet known, and Zazura hopes that the ongoing investigation will provide answers.