Mammoth bones show evidence of prehistoric humans in Arctic Volunteer Sergey Gorbunov works at the excavation site of a mammoth carcass in northern Russia's Siberia region near the Kara Sea. (Alexei Tikhonov/Pitulko et al./Science via AP)
Mammoth bones show evidence of prehistoric humans in Arctic
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The remains of a mammoth that was hunted down about 45,000 years ago have revealed the earliest known evidence of humans in the Arctic.
 
Marks on the bones, found in far northern Russia, indicate the creature was stabbed and butchered. The tip of a tusk was damaged in a way that suggests human activity, perhaps to make ivory tools.
 
With a minimal age estimate of 45,000 years, the discovery extends the record of human presence in the Arctic by at least about 5,000 years.
 
The site in Siberia, near the Kara Sea, is also by far the northernmost sign of human presence in Eurasia before 40,000 years ago, Vladimir Pitulko of the Russian Academy of Science in St. Petersburg and co-authors reported in a paper released by the journal Science.
 
They also briefly report evidence of human hunting at about the same time from a wolf bone found well to the east. That suggests a widespread occupation, although the population was probably sparse, they said.
 
Daniel Fisher, a mammoth expert at the University of Michigan who did not participate in the study, said the markings on the mammoth bone strongly indicate human hunting. It makes sense to conclude that the hunters were from our own species rather than Neanderthals, John Hoffecker of the University of Colorado at Boulder commented in an email.
 
But Robert Park, an archaeologist at the University of Waterloo in Canada who has studied the bones of hunted animals in the far north, called the evidence for human hunting "pretty marginal." The beast had been found with remains of its fat hump, while hunters would be expected to take the fat for food and fuel, he said. And the skeleton shows far less butchering than one would expect, he said.
 
Park emphasized he's not ruling out the idea that the mammoth was hunted.
 
If people were living this far north that long ago, he said, it implies they had not only the technical abilities to carry out mammoth hunts, but also a social organization that was complex enough to share the food from the relatively rare kills.

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How do the mammoth bones show evidence of prehistoric humans in Arctic?
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COMMENTS (53)
  • karionh-hyl
    1/27/2016 - 10:14 a.m.

    I agree with Daniel Fisher I believe that there were a human race at that time, and I believe they did hunt mammoths. The reason I believe this is because mammoths were big and had lots of meat, which meant lots of protein. I do agree with him, but there is a possibility that we both could be wrong.

  • alicias-hyl
    1/27/2016 - 10:19 a.m.

    It showed evidence of prehistoric humans in artic because it bones had signs of being hunted . They also have evidence of human hunting around that time . Another reason is Daniel Fisher said the markings on the mammoth shows evidence of human hunting and concluded that the hunters were from our species .

  • isabelg-hyl
    1/27/2016 - 10:20 a.m.

    I believe people did in fact their hunt the mammals. Maybe not for the need of their fat but the need to use their tusks and horns to use weapons. It was harsh how they have treated these animals. Butchering them and messing up their tusks, skinning them in order to use their fur for warmth. These animals were harmed badly and I do believe humans caused these poor mammals pain, but I guess that is just how they needed to be treated in order for the humans back then to survive.

  • suesanab-hyl
    1/27/2016 - 10:21 a.m.

    The marks on the bones indicate the creature was stabbed as well as butchered . The discovery extends the record of human presence in the Arctic by at least about 5,000 years .There was a wide spread occupation, although the population may have been sparse. Furthermore, it suggest that humans may have been hunting and/or making "ivory tools".

  • johnnym-hyl
    1/27/2016 - 10:24 a.m.

    The mammoth bones show proof of humans being up north because they have characteristics that could only be made my man made things. Mostly in areas where most of the meat is found, but Robert Park had a valid counter claim to that. He said that some of the more valuable fat was left behind and there wasn't much butchering. So I believe there was a people up north.

  • tyreseb-hyl
    1/27/2016 - 10:26 a.m.

    The mammoth bones shows evidence of prehistoric humans in the Arctic by marks on the bones that indicate the creature been stabbed . Another evidence was the tip of the tusks was damage. They say that it was use for ivory tools.

  • luism-hyl
    1/27/2016 - 10:28 a.m.

    This reminds me of the time archeologist found a baby mammoth still with fur and skin. The animal was not alive but still had his neurological system and had his muscles. They also said they were trying to clone the animal as well. With enough DNA it wouldn't surprise me.

  • zaydenm-hyl
    1/27/2016 - 10:29 a.m.

    It's really cool that we have found evidence of prehistoric humans. We have been around for 5,000 more years then we previously though. The 45,000 year old bones shows signs of hunting with tools, that's not a basic skill

  • kimberlyg1-hyl
    1/27/2016 - 10:31 a.m.

    I think it's horrible that how they had to kill manmmoths to make tools and for food. It was the only way they could of survive.they cold of made a social organization that was able to share the food.

  • ashtonv-hyl
    1/27/2016 - 10:31 a.m.

    How long have they been saying they would clone one and it still hasn't happened?

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