How were the lives of the ancient woolly mammoths? And what made them go extinct? To get a reply to these, Rountrey and his advisor, Daniel Fisher, are analyzing the chemical signatures in a woolly mammoth’s tusk that died millennia ago and was nursed for at least six years. Mammoth tusks grow a little bit every day. As growth rings reveal a tree’s age, markings and chemical signatures in tusks help scientists tease out details like when a mammoth reached maturity and what it ate. Fully grown mammoths stood 10 to 12 feet (3 to 3.7 meters) tall and weighed between 12,000 and 16,000 pounds (5,500 and 7,300 kilograms). Their tusks reached up to 10 feet (3 meters) long.
Related to African and Asian elephants, the mammoths romped vast stretches of North America and Eurasia until their extinction about 10,000 years ago. Scientists have been debating on the cause of their extinction-whether it is climate change, hunting, or disease. Hope this controversy will be mellowed by the woolly mammoth tusk’s chemical signatures.