A recent study has revealed some interesting facts about the woolly mammoths that were present in present-day Siberia. It has discovered that the male woolly mammoths were more prone to meet their end in natural traps-falling through thin ice, tumbling into holes or getting stuck in mudflows — than their female counterparts.
Researchers from Swedish Museum of Natural History got this astonishing result by determining the sex of 95 woolly mammoths (Mammuthus primigenius) whose dead remains were found across different parts of Siberia. Among them, 66 specimens were found to be male, and the remaining 29 specimens were found to be female mammoths. Actually, this high risk of death in case of woolly mammoths is due to the bad lifestyle. Inexperienced male mammoths are more likely to travel alone, away from their herd and that is why they are at more risk of falling into dangerous traps and die as a result.
Although the latest study exposes the lack of alertness or intelligence on the part of male woolen mammoth, it has another part to it. The pachyderm’s untimely death occurred after they fell in natural traps like bogs crevices or lake. But the important thing was that after they get buried, those natural traps preserved their remains for thousands of years, thus allowing researchers to successfully discover and study them.
Researcher Love Dalén, a professor of evolutionary genetics at the Swedish Museum of Natural History said that most bones, tusks, and teeth from mammoths and other ice age animals have not survived. It is high likely that the remains that are found in Serbia these days have been preserved because they were buried and thus got protected from weathering. The researchers also informed that the latest discovery is a part of long-term project that aims to study the genomes of woolly mammoths and they got these surprising results while analyzing the sex of the mammoths.
Lead study researcher Patrícia Pečnerová, a doctoral student of bioinformatics and genetics at the Swedish Museum of Natural History said that they were very surprised because there was no reason to expect a sex bias in the fossil record. The researchers also revealed that like modern elephants, these woolly mammoths had matriarchal hierarchies. That means the female mammoths always moved in herds and the male mammoths lived in bachelor groups or spent time alone, thus getting more prone to deaths in natural traps.