Mammoths: their past and future

(ORDO NEWS) — On the Wrangel’s Arctic island, woolly mammoths did not quite live until the time when in China they began to make crafts from the tusks of their fellow tribesmen, extinct on the continent. Just a little more – and mammoths from prehistoric animals would turn into historical ones.

Rumors that the mammoth was about to clone were revived with renewed vigor. Although it is possible to successfully create a clone of a modern animal the size of a sheep and larger about once in several hundred attempts, no one has ever cloned a completely living elephant to itself. It is clear that there is no scientific sense in this hype. These are all urban legends, like stories about zombies …

Myths and legends

Yakuts and other Siberian peoples believed that in the lower world there is a gigantic beast – sali. Having climbed to the surface, he perishes from the sun’s rays, and only the horns with which he dug the ground and crushed the ice remain sticking out. Indigenous Siberians treated selia with superstitious horror (to see it – to death), but overcoming fear, for centuries collected “horns” for exchange. From Siberia, rumors of underground giants spread throughout Eurasia. And since in the Finno-Ugric languages ​​the word that sounds like “mamut” was called “earthen horns”, that is, fossil tusks, the saliyah got the name “mammoth”.

In medieval Europe, mammoth tusks were attributed to a unicorn or revered as holy relics. Recently, orientalist Alexander Yurchenko from St. Petersburg found out that for the first time finds of mammoth bones are mentioned in written sources of the XII century. The Andalusian geographer Abu Hamid al-Garnati, who visited the Bulgar country on the Volga in 1150, testified: “But underground there are tusks of elephants, snow-white, heavy as lead, one – one hundred mann [about 60 kilograms. – Note Ed.] and more and less do not know from which beast they are broken. Crests and caskets are made of them, and more, just as they are made of ivory, but only this is stronger than ivory: it does not break.”

In 1254, the king of Lesser Armenia Hetum traveled to Mongolia to the court of the great khan Mengu. There, Hetum heard many entertaining stories and, upon returning to Armenia, shared them with the historian Kirakos Gandzaketsi. And here is what Kirakos wrote: “… There is a sandy island on which some kind of precious bone, which is called fish, grows like a tree; if cut down, in the same place it grows again, like horns.” Chinese masters carved many beautiful things from it. Undoubtedly, it was a question of fossil tusks of a mammoth: every year in the north of Siberia bones are thawed from permafrost – as if they grow from the earth.

Mammoths

The German preacher Heinrich Wilhelm Ludolf, who arrived in Russia in the 17th century, noted: “An extremely curious thing is the mammoth bone, which is excavated from the ground in Siberia. The people go about her fantastic stories. They say that these are the bones of an animal that lives underground and surpasses all terrestrial animals in size. More knowledgeable people told me that this mammoth bone is the teeth of elephants. It must be assumed that they were brought there during the Great Flood and for a long time more and more covered with land.”

When the Kunstkamera was founded in St. Petersburg, many mammoth “horns” and “bones to the last member” were brought there from the Urals and from Siberia by decree of Peter I. Thanks to this collection, the encyclopedist and statesman Vasily Tatishchev published in 1725 the first scientific description of the fossils of the mammoth, and the Russian academician Johann Georg Duvernois reconstructed the skeleton in 1728 and proved its resemblance to the elephant. But even then, finds of bones and the remains of mammoths gave rise to strange rumors. People said that the mammoth is an old moose, which instead of horns grew tusks, or a century-old pike, digging up the banks of the rivers. Someone even claimed that he personally knew one Tatar, who fell into the cave and was saved by a mammoth. Some considered the mammoths to be the descendants of the elephants of Alexander the Great, wandering north after his Indian campaign.

Paleontologists Johann Blumenbach from the University of Göttingen and Georges Cuvier from the Museum of Natural History in Paris finally confirmed the name of the mammoth in scientific use, which proved in 1799 that this is a special extinct species of elephant.

Siberian refrigerators

Soon, Georges Cuvier published “Reasoning on the coups on the surface of the globe.” About mammoths and their contemporaries, this book said: “If they had not frozen immediately after they were killed, decay would have decomposed them. On the other hand, permafrost did not spread earlier to those places where they were captured by it, because they could not live at that temperature. Therefore, the same process destroyed them and froze the country.”

And two centuries later, the words of a French scientist who has never been to Siberia are taken at face value, supplemented by myths about “frozen palm and plum trees with green leaves and even ripe fruits”, as it was lured in one textbook for Orthodox schools. Of course, in permafrost, known as permafrost, there is no trace of palm trees or plums. Not such vegetation surrounded mammoths during life. No one ever found green leaves or ripe fruits. Things are better with mammoths and some other representatives of the mammoth fauna, but again, this is not about mountains of corpses, but about rare finds. And not at all icy.

“Permafrost” is not ice, but mostly silty particles soldered by ice crystals into solid rock, likened to concrete in the fortress. The constant temperature of the layers ranges from 0 to -15 ° C. There are crystals of pure ice up to 20–40 centimeters long, and ice veins filling vertical cracks up to 10 meters across and up to 50 meters deep (such veins grow 8–12 thousand years). Frozen low-temperature layers are interspersed with liquefied ones. All this together is permafrost, which occupy the entire territory of Yakutia, reaching a huge – up to 1400 meters – power, and a significant part of Siberia. (Russia accounts for half of the entire global area of ​​“permafrost”).

Permafrost rocks were formed due to prolonged freezing of soils during the last glaciations (180–20 thousand years ago), when vast continental glaciers covered almost the whole of North America and North Asia, Europe to the Alpine belt, and mountain ice of the Pyrenees fell far down to meet them. Alps and Tibet. The longest “fragments” of the ice sheet remained in the north of Asia, where the most amazing discoveries await scientists.

The first mummy of a mammoth, about which reliable information was preserved, was discovered in August 1799 in the Lena River Delta by Evenki from the community of Osip Shomakhov, the “Tunguz prince”, as he was called in then letters. In 1803, when the mammoth completely melted out of the cliff, Shomakhov cut down the tusks and sold them for 50 rubles (very worthy at the time money) to the Yakut merchant Roman Boltunov. The merchant turned out to be inquisitive – he got to the cliff, sketched a carcass and described the beast: “… He was so fat that his belly dropped below the knee bends. This mammoth was a male … but without a tail and trunk.”

Three years later, Mikhail Adams, an associate in zoology of the Russian Imperial Academy of Sciences, who was returning through Yakutsk from China, found out about the mammoth. When the zoologist was in place, the skeleton still remained from the mummy with large pieces of skin, two legs, even a shrunken brain and eye and a whole pound of fallen hair – everything else was destroyed by arctic foxes, wolves and dogs. Nevertheless, this skeleton, subsequently exhibited at the Kunstkamera (now in the Zoological Museum of St. Petersburg) and known as the “Adams mammoth”, is one of the most complete skeletons of Mammuthus primigenius.

The Academy immediately announced a substantial cash reward for each new find. I had to wait for almost a century … Here is what the journal “Scientific Review” wrote in 1901: “According to newspapers, a perfectly preserved corpse of a mammoth was found. In the stomach was moss, grass. By order of the Imperial Academy of Sciences, local authorities must take care of preserving the precious find until the arrival of specialists sent to study the conditions for the carcass to be found in ice deposits and to deliver it to St. Petersburg. Mammoth was found in an area located 300 miles from Srednekolymsk … “.

Partially melted mummy was noticed in the coastal slope of the Evenk Semyon Tarabikin, chasing the moose. He extracted a single tusk and sold it to the Cossacks. Those, knowing the announced remuneration, bought from the hunter the right to own the find. In September 1901, an expedition led by the conservative of the Zoological Museum Otto Hertz arrived on the Beryozovka river, a tributary of the Kolyma. To remove the mammoth, a wooden blockhouse was erected above it, in which furnaces were heated around the clock. The return journey took four months: fragments of the mummy were transported in ten carts drawn by horses and deer, and from Irkutsk in a refrigerator car.

Mammoths 4

In 1903, a unique exhibit – the Birch mammoth, and now representing the most complete mummy of an adult animal – was exhibited in the museum. Soon, quite full remnants of a mammoth, one of the Yakut industrial brothers Gorokhov looked out at the bottom of a stream on Bolshoi Lyakhovsky Island. The news of the discovery reached St. Petersburg, but the academy decided that now such finds would be in abundance, and refused to allocate funds for a long expedition.

As a result, the frayed fragments of the Lyakhovsky mammoth ended up in Paris, and the next mummy had to wait … another 70 years. In 1977, on the Dima creek, in the upper Kolyma, when preparing a site for washing gold, a bulldozer Anatoly Logachev from the Znameny prospecting artel caught a mammoth named at the excavation site with a knife named Dima. After another 11 years, almost a whole carcass of a mammoth on the banks of the Yuribecheyakhi River on the Yamal Peninsula was discovered by sailors of the Threshold motor ship. And today the whole mummy of the mammoth mummy, which was called Anyone, was found there in Yamal by the reindeer herder Yuri Hoody in 2007 – Luba only needs a tail. The following year, a two-month-old mammoth melted from a cliff on the Chrome River in Northeastern Yakutia (his name is Chroma). Further, apparently due to the thawing of permafrost, the mummies began to appear almost every year.

A very unusual find was waiting for paleontologists on the Laptev Sea in 2010: a new female was named Yuk, as members of the nomadic tribal community Yukagir discovered and saved the mummy. The mammoth’s path from the cliff to the laboratory in Yakutsk took a year and a half. And there, to clarify the age of the animal, a CT scan of the skull was made, the result of which was completely unexpected: the brain was preserved in the skull!

Previously, the conclusions about the structure of this organ in a mammoth were based only on casts of the internal cavity of the cranium and knowledge about the brain of modern elephants. Therefore, an important task was the preservation of a rare find for further research. “Yuki’s brain, although it retained its appearance and form, has become very fragile due to prolonged mummification. Three weeks were spent on its conservation – formalin impregnation – in Yakutsk, and then the skull was opened and removed, ”says Yevgeny Mashchenko, a famous specialist in mammoth fauna from the Paleontological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences. – It was important not to damage the skull and at the same time carefully get the brain in a hard shell: trepanation lasted almost six hours. The mammoth skull has special air cavities facilitating this massive structure, so we had to cut a five-centimeter bone thickness.”

When and where they will find a new mummy, it is impossible to predict. So, in August 2012, our editorial office rang. The caller inquired: is a mammoth needed? Since there was absolutely nowhere for us to keep a mammoth, employees of academic institutes took up it … But it was like that. In the west of Taimyr, where the cape Sopochnaya Karga protrudes into the Yenisei Gulf, there lived a widow-reindeer herder with six children. One of them – then ten-year-old Zhenya Salinder – once went hunting with a bow and got … a mammoth: he noticed a partially melted mummy in a ten-meter cliff. Soon, a scientific expedition arrived at the cape. “The Sopkarginsky mammoth is very well preserved,” says Alexei Tikhonov, secretary of the Committee for the Study of Mammoths and Mammoth Fauna of the Russian Academy of Sciences. – I managed to extract the main part of the mummy with legs, skull, lower jaw, right ear and eye socket, even the penis. Body length – 2.9 meters, height in the croup – 1.2 meters. A preliminary survey of the location shows that the mammoth lived about 38 thousand years ago and probably died in adolescence – 13-16 years old. At this age, boys elephants begin to mature and, being expelled from the group by the matriarch, experience severe stress.”

Mammoths 5

It is surprising that, despite all these findings, there is still an opinion about the giant cemeteries of mammoths that instantly formed under the waves of the Great Flood and froze in the ice, where the soft tissue is so safe that even now you can take an egg (sperm variant) and implant a living elephant (fertilize her) to get a thick-haired and highly dull young. This myth goes back to an article by Mikhail Adams, reprinted in 1890, where the scientist is depicted in front of a transparent block of ice, in which a purposeful mammoth is visible.

It is interesting that a century later, the Belgian collector Bernard Bueig repeated this trick with the so-called mammoth Zharkov: stunning film shots and photographs flew around the world – on the suspension of a huge helicopter, frozen over the endless snow-covered tundra of Taimyr, there was a multi-ton ice block sticking out of it. Newspapers and television journalists cheerfully broadcast that in addition to the first, already mined mammoth carcass, with the help of radar and other latest equipment, at least six more mammoths and rhinos were found … Buyig simply bought two good tusks from a local hunter and … decided to become famous. To create the desired effect, tusks were frozen in ice and picked up an ice floe by helicopter. In a film shot by the Air Force channel, pecking at a sparkling bait in the form of an empty ice cube, sad British scientists defrost it with the help of hair dryers …

In fact, the cause of the death of each of the mammoths and their contemporaries who lived at different times between 50 and 9 thousand years ago was different. The Berezovsky mammoth, apparently, fell into a natural trap – a thaw in frozen ground, where it broke the bones of the pelvis and shoulder and died almost immediately – in the mouth there remained uncut tufts of grass. The one-year-old Dima lagged behind the herd (he was limping, suffered from severe worm infection, he didn’t even have a fat hump), got lost in the glacial canyons (he was found among the fossilized ice – taryns), where his fellow tribesmen came to rest from the nest, and died of starvation (the stomach and intestines were almost empty). Luba’s mammoth, several months old (about 80 kilograms in mass), got stuck and drowned in a cold swampy lake (its organs were covered with small crystals of vivianite – a mineral, characteristic of a cold oxygen-free environment; silt filled the trachea and bronchi), and Khrom was apparently crushed by a mud landslide (her soft tissues were torn, her bones were displaced).

Two circumstances unite all relatively whole mammoths. First, they were near natural refrigerators; secondly, almost all mummies – and there are already about a dozen of them – belong to young animals: among young individuals, mortality is always high. One of the few natural mass simultaneous burials of mammoths is Sevskoye in the Bryansk region, where a herd of 33 individuals (today it is quite complete skeletons of 19 adults and 14 cubs from a newborn to teenagers), studied by Yevgeny Mashchenko, died in spring or early summer in a river valley . 14 thousand years ago they were flooded.

Nevskoye and similar natural burials make it possible to judge the structure of mammoth groups: like modern African elephants, such groups consisted of females and cubs (probably with a matriarch at the head) or several males. Other “cemeteries” (in fact, clusters of scattered bones) were mainly formed over hundreds and even thousands of years in those places where corpses and washed bones were carried by rivers – in ancient floodplains and deltas. And every find – whether it be a mummy or just scattered bones – is a storehouse of information about mammoths and about their era, about the time when a person became intelligent. And new technical means allow us to find out such details that even five years ago seemed unthinkable.

Animals from Africa

60 million years ago, Africa was almost isolated from the continents to the north, and there arose a special group of mammals, which molecular biologists called “afrotherias”. Aphroterias unite very different animals – sirens, damans, aardvarks, gold moles, tenreks, jumpers and proboscis (now represented by elephants). However, they, and even more so their ancestors, have common features in the structure of the skeleton.

The oldest remains of proboscis proper come from Algeria and Morocco (they are about 40 million years old). They were miniature – only 10-15 kilograms in weight – “elephants” with a high-browed skull and nasal openings displaced backwards. This means that their upper lip was extended and, together with the nostrils, was transformed into a trunk – a muscle pump, convenient for feeding and various manipulations, like a hand in a person or other monkey. The appearance of the trunk led to the fact that the second upper and lower incisors of elephant ancestors developed into tusks. In the course of evolution, the proboscis grew very noticeably.

The modern family of elephants, to which the mammoth belonged, appeared 6–7 million years ago in Africa. These mammals are distinguished by an unusual structure and tooth change: on the buccal – chewing – teeth they have parallel transverse grater plates. These teeth are so long with elephants that when the front of the crown is almost worn out, the back is still erupting. As they develop, new teeth move forward and push the old ones.

Such horizontal, or “conveyor”, replacement always occurs at a certain time: six generations of buccal teeth successively replace one another (when the last teeth grind – around the 60th year of life, the elephant dies of hunger). Therefore, using computed tomography by the number of teeth remaining “in stock”, you can find out the individual age of the mammoth. Say, Yuki’s fourth tooth change has not yet erupted, which means she was 6–9 years old.

The powerful tusks and trunk of a mammoth or any large elephant create a large load on the muscles and ligaments that control the movement of the head. Because these muscles have a rather large mass, and the area of ​​the occipital part of the skull, where the ligaments are attached, is increased. Although enlargement of the skull leads to the growth of bone tissue, during the evolution of elephants, numerous cavities formed in it, separated by thin and dense bony partitions. The system of partitions gives the skull additional strength, and the cavities not only lighten the weight, but also serve as a gasket that protects the brain from heat stroke in elephants and from hypothermia in mammoths. Large skulls also contain larger organs. Thus, the brain volume of modern elephants is 3.4 times greater than that of humans.

Sentenced to survive

The amazing features of elephants tropical in origin allowed them to adapt to the harsh conditions of the northern continents when the ice age began. The direct ancestor of the woolly mammoth, which appeared in northeast Asia about 700 thousand years ago, was trogontherium; in North America, he gave rise to the Columbus mammoth. And woolly mammoths spread from the European shores of the Atlantic Ocean in the west to its American coast in the east.

Huge tusks helped mammoths scrape the walls of cliffs, which were frozen in order to get drunk, to scoop up snow in search of food (that’s why they were helically twisted inward, forming a kind of bulldozer shield), and comb teeth to grind the hardest grasses and branches to get enough even rough food. In males of a woolly mammoth, the length of the tusks reached 4.5 meters, and the mass of each of them was 135 kilograms; African elephants – up to 3 meters, weight – up to 100 kilograms. (The mammoths themselves – up to 3.2 meters tall – were inferior in height to the African elephant – up to 3.5 meters.) On the tusks of males there are usually claws – traces of the use of these teeth. Sometimes, breaking a tusk, pinched in an ice vein, the furry giant continued to do something with a stoop until his death, shrinking the fragment almost to the base.

In the icy winter months, the mammoths needed some more devices, except for the coat: plentiful sebaceous glands that protected the coat from getting wet and freezing; thick – 7–9-centimeter – a layer of subcutaneous fat; ears and tail are smaller, like many mammals of the North, which, due to the reduction of the surface of heat transfer, prevents large heat loss; and also a kind of coupling – an extension in the front of the trunk, in which it was possible to warm the sensitive finger-shaped tip of this organ.

The skin of a shaggy giant had triple protection: a cover layer of long – up to 90 centimeters – outer hair, forming a kind of “forelock”, “collar” and “skirt”, a thick dark curly undercoat and a downy layer. The remaining hair was distinguished by a thickened cortical layer and a complex core structure, which gave them special strength and heat capacity. Mammoth wool is known for many patterns. However, the question of what color the mammoths were is not easy to answer. Usually they are depicted as reddish-brown, since that is exactly what wool looks like. When a group of molecular biologist Michael Hofreiter from York University investigated the fate of the gene for the melanocortin receptor (Mc1r), which is associated with the coloring of bird feathers and mammalian hair, in the mammoth’s fossil DNA, it turned out that the alleles of this gene in the mammoth were changed compared to those of the African elephant. And one of the mutations could make furry proboscis blondes. “Studying the distribution of pigments in the outer hair,” says paleontologist Silvana Tridico of Murdoch University in Perth, “shows that they were transparent.”

Why not: white is common for winter coloring of many birds and mammals of the northern latitudes, since the transparent cover allows the sun’s rays to warm the body. (Dark wool heats itself faster – but equally rapidly loses heat in the wind and cold.) Fossil hairs acquire a rusty tint over time due to the oxidation of proteins. So, perhaps, herds of silver-gray giants once roamed the tundra steppes.

Mammoths 6

Research on new mummies has helped scientists learn about other evolutionary innovations that have made mammoths adapt to the cold. So, groups of zoologists Gennady Boeskorov from the Institute of Geology of Diamonds and Precious Metals in Yakutsk and Alexei Tikhonov found that even small mammoths – Oymyakon Sky and Yamalsky, known as Sasha and Lyuba – had humps made of cellular brown fat on their withers. It was such fat that served as a heat insulator and ensured the survival of newborn mammoths. (Previously, it was possible that the mammoth humps, captured in detail by artists and sculptors of the Stone Age, were mainly formed by muscle tissue.)

And a group of physiologist Kevin Campbell from the University of Manitoba, studying the composition of one of the most important blood components – hemoglobin in a mammoth, found changes in the structure of three amino acids. Altered hemoglobin could be actively saturated with oxygen and carry the molecules of this gas in a frosty climate, turning the animal’s blood into a kind of antifreeze. To prove this, scientists planted the mammoth gene they had collected in E. coli, and the bacterium synthesized mammoth hemoglobin. This protein was tested for affinity for oxygen molecules at low temperatures, which turned out to be much better than that of elephant hemoglobin.

Another feature of mammoths was discovered by researchers from the Research Institute of Human Morphology of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences: perhaps they had a larger brain than elephants – Yuki’s volume was 5,000 cubic centimeters versus 4,450 cubic centimeters of an African elephant of the same age and gender. A larger brain could help solve complex problems that were constantly posed by the harsh northern nature.

What killed shaggy giants?

Although mammoths lived on the islands of Wrangel and Pribylova off the coast of Alaska (3.7 and 6.5 thousand years ago, respectively) until the enlightened times of the Egyptian pyramids, no one left written evidence of the reasons for their disappearance from the face of the Earth: where is Egypt and where is the North -Eastern Arctic? If we discard the near-scientific assumptions like meteorite bombardments and mass volcanic eruptions, there will remain: climate, vegetation (food) and people.

The death of mammoths and their companions is mainly associated with the warming that began 12 thousand years ago: in the land areas left by the Asian-American Beringia that went under the ocean, the average annual temperatures increased by 4–120 ° C. The excess of moisture contributed to the spread of tundra and swamp-taiga vegetation on previously dry and cold steppe mammoth lands: beloved by woolly elephants, judging by the contents of their intestines, cereals, sedge, wormwood and willow gave way to hygrophilous lichens, dwarf birch and coniferous trees. The time came for heavy snowfalls, and it became harder to get food from under the thick snow cover, and the single mammoth complex broke up: saigas survived only in the steppes of Central Asia, musk oxen in Greenland, bison in the American prairies and forests …

Some scientists, for example, geophysicist Sergei Zimov, the head of the Northeast Scientific Station and the organizer of the unusual “Pleistocene-era Park” in the lower Kolyma River, do not exclude that people are also involved in the extinction of mammoths and their companions. “Do you think a man could not kill a mammoth?” Nothing? – he grins: – Rolled up the mammoth’s hair with a long roller, urinated; frost around – that’s the spear. ” However, only a pair of mammoth bones with missile throwing tips stuck in them were found all over the world.

Only recently have the contours of complex relationships between humans and mammoths begun to appear. So, in 2008, an unusual accumulation of bones was discovered in the lower reaches of the Yana River in the north of Yakutia. To its misfortune, it turned out to be a very rich mammoth tusk, very popular in the market (from the 18th century in Russia, from 20 to 40 tons of tusks have been harvested and sold annually, mainly to China). Unknown discoverers at risk for life in a permafrost breed made a tunnel 46 meters long and 4.5 meters wide, trying to get fossil treasures.

Something remained of the scientists from the Geological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences (GIN RAS) and the Institute of the History of Material Culture of the Russian Academy of Sciences. They reached the end of the dangerous gallery and discovered thousands of mammoth bones, as well as the remains of other animals that are about 30 thousand years old. It turned out that if at that time mammoths made up no more than three percent of the entire fauna in these places, then in the bone cluster, on the contrary, practically only their remains are represented – 31 individuals. Moreover, all individuals as a selection are young and 1.8–2.6 meters tall at the withers.

“Apparently, people for a long time piled the objects most interesting for them here,” says paleontologist Pavel Nikolsky from the GIN RAS. – Part of the bones bears traces of processing tools; the tools themselves – scrapers, knives, choppers, pointed ones – also occur. ” And the most interesting discovery of the expedition were two right shoulder blades, in which stone tips of darts or spears stuck out with the remains of a shaft made of a tusk.

The location of the holes indicates that the hunters were approaching the mammoth from behind, on the right side, and tried to hit the vital organs of the giant with throwing weapons. (Sometimes, of course, they missed – then the tips and stuck in the bones.) It is interesting that the same area on the body of the mammoth is emphasized in the drawings in the caves of Rouffignac in France and Pindal in Spain. However, apparently, mammoths were mined infrequently.

Woolly giants formed the basis of human existence: spearheads, wedges, buttons, needles and other household items, jewelry, musical instruments, even entire villages were made from bones. But, largely dependent on mammoths, humans only contributed to the extinction of the last small populations of woolly elephants in northeast Siberia, when due to warming and changing vegetation, they lost 90 percent of their territory, and their number dropped to about a million individuals, and genetic diversity. To exterminate this million, it was enough to kill a mammoth per person once every three years …

When is a mammoth cloned?

According to cryptozoological literature, the story of a hunter who allegedly met a mammoth in the Ussuri taiga in 1918 walks. The beast is described similarly, but … not to the mammoth, as it is represented by modern science, but to pictures common at the beginning of the last century. Even a heap of invented mammoths piled at all not the same as what a simple-minded one would have done. And the myth continues to live – the modern myth of the cloned mammoth will live just as long.

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