The last mammoths died on Wrangel island around 2000 – 2500 BCE

The remote Arctic island in Siberia is believed to be the final place on Earth to support woolly mammoths as an isolated population until their extinction about 2000 BCE, making them the most recent surviving population known to science.

Initially it was assumed that this was a specific dwarfed variant of the species seems originating from Siberia. However, after further evaluation, these Wrangel island mammoths are no longer considered dwarfs.

A combination of late climate change (warming) and the presence of modern humans using advanced hunting and survival skills probably hastened their demise on this frozen isle which until recently was ice bound for most years with infrequent breaks of clear water in some Arctic summers.

Evidence for prehistoric human occupation was uncovered in 1975 at the Chertov Ovrag site. Various stone and ivory tools were found, including a toggling harpoon. Radiocarbon dating shows the human inhabitation roughly coeval with the last mammoths on the island circa 1700 BCE, though no direct evidence of mammoth hunting has been found.

Bonus Fact: There are up to 150 million dead woolly mammoth frozen beneath the Siberian tundra – their tusks helping to reduce demand for illegal elephant ivory.

Sources: Wikipedia, The University of Arizona.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *