(ORDO NEWS) — Mammoths are known as ancient land dwellers, so scientists were shocked when they found the remains of the animal at the bottom of the ocean.
Researchers from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, pilot Randy Prickett and scientist Stephen Haddock , discovered a Columbian mammoth tusk 24 kilometers offshore and at a depth of 3,048 meters in the ocean in 2019, according to a press release from the organization.
They only managed to collect a small piece of the tusk that year, so they returned in July 2021 for a complete sample.
“You start to expect the unexpected as you explore the deep sea, but I’m still stunned that we stumbled upon an ancient mammoth tusk,” said Mr. Haddock.
University of Michigan paleontologist Daniel Fisher, who specializes in the study of mammoths and mastodons, said it was unlike anything he had ever seen.
The tusk can be a crucial key to our understanding of mammoths as a species. Many research institutions are now studying the tusk to find out more about the find, for example, the age of the animal at the time of its death.
The high-pressure cold environment helped preserve the tusk, the researchers said, so it can be studied in more detail.
“Other mammoths have been recovered from the ocean, but usually not from depths of more than a few tens of meters,” Fischer said.
Scientists believe it may be the oldest well-preserved mammoth tusk found in this region of North America, and the University of California Geochronology Laboratory estimates it to be over 100,000 years old after analyzing radioisotopes.
The researchers hope that the collected data will be able to tell them more not only about the mammoth they found, but also about its appearance in general.
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