A latest finding has revealed the secret behind the ultimate extinction of the woolly mammoth. It suggested that inbreeding and unfavorable climatic conditions led to their disappearance.
Based on the analysis of their fossils, a lot many information about these animals has been uncovered. The hairy enormous woolly mammoth is the most famous prehistoric elephant of the Pleistocene epoch.
Researchers said that in recent years, they noticed an unusual pattern in the fossils that were unearthed near the North Sea.
It was found that these fossils, approximately 12,000 years old, were found to have extra ribs along their neck vertebrae. This distortion was not a threat but it indicated that the development of the animal was not normal.
In 2006, a study was conducted to look into the presence of such extra cervical ribs in humans. At that time, it was found that nearly 78 per cent of the fetuses with such deformity die before birth and 86 percent of babies die before completing an year.
Researchers from Rotterdam Museum of Natural History and the Naturalis Biodiversity Center in Leiden noticed that the cervical ribs were 10 times more common in the woolly mammoths from the North Sea when compared to 3.3 percent in the modern elephants. This conclusion came after researchers examined the mammoth and modern elephant’s cervical ribs.
Jelle Reumer, one of the authors of the study said that the research has aroused their curiosity to find two cervical vertebrae. “We knew these were just about the last mammoths living there, so we suspected something was happening. Our work now shows that there was indeed a problem in this population,” Reumer said.
When compared to the modern sample, the presence of abnormal cervical vertebrae in mammoths is very high. This indicates that the vulnerability in the species.
The development of this rib is also based on the genetic and environmental factors existing during the pre embryonic development.
The finding was published in the journal Peer J.