Mammoth ivory recovered from an impossible place: the seabed

In 2019, pilot Randy Brigitte and scientist Stephen Hodok, researchers at the Montreal Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI), discovered Colombian ivory at 185 miles and 10,000 feet in the ocean. In a press release.

At the time they were only able to collect a small dentin, so they came back in July 2021 to get the full sample.

“You start to expect the unexpected ‘when exploring the deep sea,'” Haddock said, ‘but I’m still amazed to think we’ve landed on a huge ancient ivory.’ “Our work to explore this amazing discovery is just beginning, and we look forward to sharing more information in the future.”

It was the first of its kind, said Daniel Fisher, an archaeologist at the University of Michigan who specializes in the study of mammoths and mastodons.

“Other mammoths have been recovered from the sea, but some are no more than 10 meters deep,” Fisher said.

The publication said that various research facilities are examining the ivory and determining various information about it, including the age of the dead animal. The high-pressure cold environment helped protect the dentin, the researchers said, so it can be studied in more detail.

Scientists believe it may be the oldest well-preserved mammoth owl recovered from this part of North America, and the University of California Geological Survey estimates it may be more than 100,000 years old after studying radioisotopes.

The researchers hope that the data collected will tell more about the mammoths they found, but not the species in general.

“Models like this provide a rare opportunity to paint a picture of a living animal and the environment in which it lives,” said Beth Shapiro, a senior researcher at the University of California, San Francisco, Laboratory of Paleobiology.

“Mammoth remains from the North American continent are very rare, so we expect the DNA from this ivory to go a long way in improving what we know about mummies in this part of the world.”

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