Arctic Siberia: refuge of the Mammoth fauna in the Holocene

By: Gennady G. Boeskorov
"Global climate change at the end of Pleistocene led to extinction in the huge territories of Northern Eurasia of the typical representatives of the Mammoth fauna: mammoth, woolly rhinoceros, wild horse, bison, musk-ox, and cave lion. Undoubtedly the Mammoth fauna underwent pressure from Upper Paleolithic humans, whose hunting activity could also have played a role in decreasing the number of mammoths and other representatives of megafauna. Formerly it was supposed that the megafauna of the “Mammoth complex” had become extinct by the beginning of the Holocene. Nevertheless the latest data indicate that extinction of the Mammoth fauna was significantly delayed in the north of Eastern Siberia. In the 1990s some radiocarbon dates established that mammoths existed in the Holocene on Wrangel Island—from 7700 until 3700 yBP. Radiocarbon data show that wild horses inhabited the north of Eastern Siberia 4600–2000 yBP. Muskoxen lived here about 3000 yBP. Some bison remains from Eastern Siberia belong to the Holocene. The following circumstances could promote the survival of representatives of Mammoth fauna. Cool and dry climate in this region promotes the maintenance of steppe associations—the habitats of those mammals. Late Paleolithic and Mesolithic settlements are not found in the Arctic zone of Eastern Siberia from Taimyr Peninsula to the lower Yana River; they are very rare in basins of the Indigirka and Kolyma Rivers. The small number of Stone Age hunting tribes in the northern part of Eastern Siberia was probably another factor that contributed to the survival of some Mammoth fauna representatives. "
Quaternary International Volumes 142-143 , January 2006, Pages 119-123
Third International Mammoth Conference, Dawson, Yukon
Abstract avaible in ScienceDirect: Click here

No comments: