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 who did not participate in the study. He 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. That was an email comment from John Hoffecker of the University of Colorado at Boulder.
 
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. 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 (48)
  • josiec-1-bar
    1/21/2016 - 08:57 p.m.

    Mammoth bones show evidence of prehistoric humans in the Arctic because, "Marking on the Mammoth bones strongly indicate human hunting." So, if there was human hunting going on in the prehistoric times then there must of been a human to do it. There were marks of arrows and hunting tools on the mammoth's bones which shows that a human must of have schot the arrow. My opinion is that there probably was humans that lived in North Russia at the time which caused the discovery of the Mammoth bones.

  • seans-2-bar
    1/21/2016 - 09:40 p.m.

    The mammoth bones found in northern Russia have marks that appear as if it were hunted, "the tip of a tusk is damaged in a way that suggests human activity". This evidence indicates that humans have been active in the arctic 5,0000 years earlier than was previously estimated. This was an informative article because I had no previous knowledge regarding this subject.

  • yuaw-3-bar
    1/21/2016 - 10:58 p.m.

    The Mammoth bones show evidence of prehistoric humans in the arctic because as paragraph two states, "Marks on the bones, found in northern Russia, indicate the creature was hunted. The tip of the tusk was damaged in a way that suggests human activity." archeologists believe humans had hunted Mammoths 45,000 years ago.
    I thought this was very interesting because who knew that there were humans killing Mammoths or at least hunting them? I thought I would like to know more about this after reading this article.

  • angelinat-3-bar
    1/21/2016 - 11:07 p.m.

    Mammoth bones show evidence because one of the tusks was ruptured by what historians believe was a human spear. As stated in the article,
    "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." This shows that humans were most likely hunting the mammoths and were around during this time. I was interested in this article because I love to learn about history. I was surprised by this article because I didn't know that humans could've possibly been around during that time.

  • maggiec-3-bar
    1/21/2016 - 11:47 p.m.

    Mammoth bones show evidence of prehistoric humans in Arctic because they have markings on them, which look like they were made by humans. The marks on the bones look like the mammoth was being hunted. That leads people to think that there were humans in the arctic that would have hunted that mammoth. In paragraph six Daniel Fisher says "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." This shows that there was human life in the arctic at that time. I think that it's so cool that people are finding information about life long ago and the earlier humans. Hopefully soon they will discover some new interesting evidence and facts about this information.

  • aidanp-1-bar
    1/22/2016 - 12:29 a.m.

    There were tusks that were edged leading to the fact of hunter, most likely with opposable thumbs and tools.This shows evidence of prehistoric humans in the arctic.

  • genevieveb-6-bar
    1/22/2016 - 12:50 a.m.

    Mammoth bones show evidence of prehistoric humans in the Arctic due to markings on the mammoth's tusks resembling marks from a human hand capably cutting something. In the article's beginning, it says that,"Marks on the bones, found in far northern Russia, indicate the creature was hunted" (paragraph 2). Only a person could make markings such as what was described, as if sliced with a knife or tool of some sort. Woolly mammoth bones show evidence of prehistoric people in the Arctic because of precise scratches and cuts in the mammoth's tusks.

    I found this article surprising because I do not think it would be possible for a human to be able to survive in the harsh conditions of the Arctic.

  • caitlynk-2-bar
    1/22/2016 - 12:54 a.m.

    Mammoth bones show evidence of prehistoric humans in the Arctic because of the passage in the text, "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." The passage shows that there was most likely prehistoric life in the Arctic because there were marks and wounded tusks of mammoths. This article was interesting because it changes sciences history. I was surprised by this article because it proves that anything can change in an instant.

  • shelbyh-spe
    1/22/2016 - 08:43 a.m.

    I think it was cool that scientist found the mammoth, but I think a picture of the tusk with the writing on it would make the story much better

  • gracem1-spe
    1/22/2016 - 09:26 a.m.

    It's an interesting discovery that could lead to new evidence throughout history.

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