Siberia – A study published on Thursday in the journal Science revealed the outcomes of an investigation about the excavated bones of a hunted mammoth found by paleontologists in Siberia back in 2012. This discovery evidences that humans were living far North in Siberia thousands of years earlier than previously thought.

It was believed that humans began occupying the higher reaches of the northern hemisphere around 35,000 years ago, but the discovery of a mammoth carcass skeleton that had been haunted and butchered for food in northern Siberia around 45,000 years ago proved the previous theory wrong as it evidences humans were there at least 10,000 years earlier than thought.

Photo: The Verge/Pitulko et al., Science, 2016
Photo: The Verge/Pitulko et al., Science, 2016

The mammoth was well preserved in the freezing ice so scientists were able to examine some of its soft tissues. The researchers found injuries around the ribs, face, and shoulders suggest that were inflicted by humans using stone or ivory-tipped spears in the form of a mammoth-hunting event.

“One can almost see the blow-by-blow battle between people and mammoth fought on those frozen plains, the impact wounds on the bones with embedded stone fragments is conclusive evidence that people slayed this mammoth,” Curtis Marean, a paleoanthropologist at Arizona State University who was not involved with the study said in an interview.

The study lead author, Vladimir Pitulko of the Russian Academy of Sciences said these animals must have provided an endless source of different goods to the humans at the time like food, fuel by using their fertilizer, fat and bones; and raw material with long bones and ivory.

Scientist claim these findings allow us to understand that people were in the Arctic a really long time ago, much earlier than previously believed. It also proves that 45,000 years ago people were already migrating in areas not too far from the Bering bridge, a stretch of land that once joined Siberia to Alaska and that it is believed was the gate people used to migrate to the new world.

Even though the findings prove the mammoth was hunted by humans, scientist cannot yet say it was done by modern humans. Ted Goebel, interim head of the department of anthropology at Texas A&M University, who was not involved with the study explained that the hunt could have be done by a late-surviving group of an archaic human species such as Neanderthals or their close cousins, the Denisovans.

Source: Science Journal