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 hunted. The tip of a tusk was damaged in a way that suggests human activity. That was 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 of the find is in Siberia, near the Kara Sea. It is also by far the northernmost sign of human presence in Eurasia before 40,000 years ago. This is according to Vladimir Pitulko. He works for the Russian Academy of Science in St. Petersburg. Pitulko and co-authors reported the discovery 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. But the population was probably sparse, they said.
 
Daniel Fisher is a mammoth expert at the University of Michigan. He did not participate in the study. He said the markings on the mammoth bone strongly indicate human hunting. And, it makes sense to conclude that the hunters were from our own species rather than Neanderthals. That was an email comment from John Hoffecker of the University of Colorado at Boulder.
 
Robert Park is an archaeologist at the University of Waterloo in Canada. He has studied the bones of hunted animals in the far north. Park called the evidence for human hunting "pretty marginal." The beast had been found with remains of its fat hump. 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. It would have been complex enough to share the food from the relatively rare kills.

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
How do the mammoth bones show evidence of prehistoric humans in Arctic?
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COMMENTS (172)
  • John0724-YYCA
    1/21/2016 - 07:22 p.m.

    I think that the people who were in this activity are not part of the neanderthals because I think the neanderthals were to dumb to create this tool with the mammoth's tusk(I also don't think they ever existed).I think the people were who were in the hunting of the mammoth were our kind and I wonder did the people long time ago look like us. I also wonder that does mammoth meat taste good or they just hunted the mammoths for the tusks. I also think that it is very cool that this mammoth skeleton was the first mammoth skeleton ever found that had signs of human activity. A mammoth should have been very hard to kill if a social organization had to all hunt it together.

  • brianag-6-bar
    1/21/2016 - 07:58 p.m.

    Mammoth bones show evidence of prehistoric humans in the Arctic, because, as Daniel Fisher stated"the markings on the mammoth bone strongly indicate human hunting." This is evidence that humans did exist before the ice age. This is a very important article because it states that even though most people think that people weren't a thing back then they were and there is proof written in this article.

  • pipern-2-bar
    1/21/2016 - 08:27 p.m.

    The mammoth bones showed that humans were once there because there were markings seemed to be made with ivory tools."Marks on the bones, found in far northern Russia, indicate the creature was hunted. The tip of a tusk was damaged in a way that suggests human activity. That was perhaps to make ivory tools."(Paragraph 2) I really doubt any other type of animal in the Arctic could use ivory tools to write on bones.This is amazing that we have evidence of prehistoric humans in the Arctic. I like this article because it shows how far humans have come.

  • sethg-2-bar
    1/21/2016 - 09:46 p.m.

    The mammoth bones show evidence of prehistoric humans because the tusk had been damaged, probably to make ivory tusks. In paragraph two it states "the tip of a tusk was damaged in a way that suggests human activity." I found this article interesting because I like learning about the past.

  • ben0424-yyca-byo
    1/21/2016 - 09:49 p.m.

    If people had actually been at the arctic in the 45,000 years ago, there are many things about the past that we do not know yet. There are many things we have theorized, but we do not actually know yet. People are things that we do not fully know about yet. Just think about what might have happened in the past.

  • tylera-1-bar
    1/21/2016 - 09:53 p.m.

    Mammoth bones show signs of prehistoric humans in the Artic because there are marks on the bones. This evidence suggests the animal was hunted by humans. I chose this article because I am very interested in early human life and activities.

  • samuelr-2-bar
    1/21/2016 - 10:00 p.m.

    The mammoth bones show evidence of prehistoric humans in the Arctic because the animal was killed by being hunted. The article states that "Marks on the bones [...] indicate the creature was hunted. The tip of a tusk was damaged in a way that suggests human activity." This shows that humans were around in the Arctic 5,000 years longer than previously thought. We know this because the marks on the bones show the mammoth was hunted because of they way the tip of the tusk was damaged. To summarize, the mammoth bones show evidence of prehistoric humans in the Arctic because the animal was killed by being hunted.

  • zeusr-3-bar
    1/21/2016 - 10:09 p.m.


    The mammoth bones have markings on them that indicate human activity.

    my opinion is that humans were actually alive during the ice age.

  • jennaw-1-bar
    1/21/2016 - 10:35 p.m.

    Mammoth bones prove that there were prehistoric humans in the arctic because they would have marks of butcher. they would have places where the humans took out the meat or were they ripped off the skin or where they killed the animal. The bones also indicate that there were humans. The humans would leave indications on the woolly mammoth bones which would show that they were hunted. Something that surprised me about this article was how their husband human how their has been humans for that far back

  • nicholasl-2-bar
    1/21/2016 - 10:36 p.m.

    Mammoth bones show evidence of prehistoric humans in the Arctic because of the markings on its tusks. In the article, it says,"The tip of a tusk was damaged in a way that suggests human activity." Also, it says,"He said the markings on the mammoth bone strongly indicate human hunting." These quotes mean that the tusks of the mammoth show evidence of human activity.
    I like this article because it says how they discovered something new. I was surprised that humans lived in the Arctic for that long.

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