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 Fall of the Mammoths

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Isaac Menghisteab



Number of posts : 6
Registration date : 2012-02-20

PostSubject: Fall of the Mammoths   Fri Mar 23, 2012 8:51 pm

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-17457561

Scientists from Sweden and the United Kingdom have recently been working together to uncover the true reasons behind the mammoth's demise. The scientists involved studied a specific community of mammoth's that became the last known living mammoths on Earth. These Mammoth's are unique because although the majority of mammoths died out around 10, 000 years ago these mammoths survived
for another 6, 000 years. The extinction of this last group of mammoths and mammoths in general is usually accreditted to their increasingly small population facing the consequences of inbreeding; genetic uniformity, it was believed that the mammoths extinction became inevitable when their population dwindled to a number too small too maintain genetic diversity, but a few decided to challenge that belief. Using techniques practiced in crime scene investigation the researchers came accross stunning evidence that suggests mammoths did not die out as a result of inbreeding. This study has found out that although the population of mammoths on Wrangel Island ranged from 500- 1, 000 at any given time, the genetic diversity never dropped below 30 % even within such a snmall population. Because these mammoths survived under such circumstances and would have continued to do so had they been left alone these scientists believe a sudden change, perhaps in environment, is responsible for the extinction of mammoths. This study disproves the inbreeding theory and lights up a whole different path for conservationalists who are trying to preserve biodiversity on Earth, in theory people can preserve a species, even if the population is very small, without facing any foreseeable problems. However the study has not been fully completed until the mystery of how the mammoths died out is solved and researchers are already on the job. This is a really interesting development that is relevant to all of our lives, if you've heard about the banana plants possible extinction I'm sure you can see the adverse effects of genetic uniformity however, this study study gives a reason to believe that we just might be able to save our favorite yellow fruit.


Last edited by Isaac Menghisteab on Sat Mar 24, 2012 1:00 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Belinda Ongaro



Number of posts : 32
Registration date : 2012-02-02

PostSubject: Re: Fall of the Mammoths   Sat Mar 24, 2012 11:14 am

Although Issac has left little to be said, overall, I see the potential this research has for future investigations, as it has altered the way in which conservationists view the concept of inbreeding as well as the consequences it may ensue for a population. However, research has allowed scientist to conclude that the extinction of the mammoth was not linked to the decline in genetic diversity suffered by the species. Evidence has led them to point at an environmental change or the presence of humans as the cause of the mammoth's demise, based on statistics that reveal a "plateau" being reached in the dwindling diversity of the population. Being in Biology 30, I recognize the terms used such as mitochondrial DNA, and DNA fingerprint. Throughout the course of this investigation, I can imagine that techniques for analyzing genetic make-up will advance and possibly gain potential for future application.
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