It might seem like we know a lot about the iconic woolly mammoth, but much of its life cycle still remains a mystery for scientists.
Researchers analyzed a 17,000-year-old mammoth tusk found above the Arctic Circle in Alaska’s North Slope.
Researchers pieced together the details of his life by doing isotope analysis on each layer of the tusk.
Those layers look a bit like tree rings, since mammoths tusks also grow as they age.
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“From the moment [mammoths are] born until the day they die, they’ve got a diary and it’s written in their tusks.”
The mammoth was probably born in and lived near the lower Yukon River basin in interior Alaska.
Modern male elephants tend to be more mobile than their female counterparts in adulthood. This mammoth followed a similar pattern to its modern-day cousins.
The researchers also note that it appears he trekked through some of the earliest regions where humans lived in Alaska.
During the last year and a half of the mammoth’s life, he spent most of his time north of the Brooks Range until his death in the winter or spring.
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