Nav: Home

Mammoths suffered from diseases that are typical for people

April 20, 2017

Sergey Leshchinskiy, paleontologist, head of TSU's Laboratory of Mesozoic and Cenozoic Continental Ecosystems, has studied the remains of Yakut mammoths collected on one of the largest locations in the world of mammoth fauna, Berelyokh. His study showed that almost half of the bones of these ancient mammals have signs of serious pathologies typical for the human skeletal system.

According to the scientist, the remains of mammoths that lived about 12,000 -13,000 years ago (ca BP) in the area of modern Yakutia are perfectly preserved. Bones carried to the Berelyokh site were covered by sediments, and this saved them from weathering and damage by predators. In conditions of permafrost, the decomposition of tissues is slow, so even after millennia, the cartilage on some bones survived.

During the work with the collection, it was found that 42% of the samples showed signs of diseases of the skeletal system. Among them there are two pathologies that no one in the world had ever detected on the remains of this species.

One of the diseases doctors call "articular mouse", or "rice grain". It is a fragment of bone or cartilaginous tissue that is located freely in the joint cavity, -- explains Sergei Leschinskiy. -- Quite often this pathology is observed in humans. When such a piece falls into the articular cavity, severe pain occurs. This indicates a serious disease, for example, subchondral bone necrosis. An animal with such an ailment was restricted in movement and often became an easy target for predators.

Another anomaly, described for the first time in mammoths, is the openness of the transverse apertures of the cervical vertebrae, in which blood vessels and nerve plexuses are normally located. There are several vertebrae with such a deviation, and it is obvious that they belong to different individuals. However, in most cases, the mammoths have signs of destructive changes, osteoporosis, osteolysis, osteofibrosis, osteomalacia, articular diseases, and other diseases caused by metabolic disorders by a lack or excess of vital macro and micro elements.

These results confirm the hypothesis of TSU paleontologists that the cause of mass extinction of mammoths was the geochemical stress that arose due to mineral starvation or due to major ecological changes on the planet.

The results of the research are available in one of the prestigious journals in quaternary sciences, from the Elsevier publishing house -- Quaternary International.
-end-


National Research Tomsk State University

Related Diseases Articles:

How many rare diseases are there?
Dr. Tudor Oprea says a better method for classifying rare diseases will lead to improved patient care.
A vaccine against chronic inflammatory diseases
In animals, a vaccine modifying the composition and function of the gut microbiota provides protection against the onset of chronic inflammatory bowel diseases and certain metabolic disorders, such as diabetes and obesity.
Using gene scissors to detect diseases
Researchers present sensor prototype that can rapidly, precisely, and cost-effectively measure molecular signals for cancer.
Ants fight plant diseases
New research from Aarhus University shows that ants inhibit at least 14 different plant diseases.
New, noninvasive test for bowel diseases
Gut diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) are increasingly prevalent worldwide, especially in industrialized countries.
Cascade exacerbates storage diseases
In rare, hereditary storage diseases such as Sandhoff's disease or Tay-Sachs syndrome, the metabolic waste from accumulating gangliosides cannot be properly disposed of in the nerve cells because important enzymes are missing.
What is known -- and not known -- about heart muscle diseases in children
Cardiomyopathies (heart muscle diseases) in children are the focus of a new scientific statement from the American Heart Association that provides insight into the diagnosis and treatment of the diseases as well as identifying future research priorities.
Autoimmune diseases are related to each other, some more than others
Researchers using the world's largest twin registry to study seven autoimmune diseases found the risk of developing the seven diseases is largely inherited, but that some diseases are more closely related than others.
Skin diseases are more common than we think
Skin diseases are ranked as the fourth most common cause of human illness, but many affected people do not consult a physician.
Across diseases, women are diagnosed later than men
When considering all diseases, there are big differences between the course of men's and women's patient care within the Danish healthcare system.
More Diseases News and Diseases Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Uncharted
There's so much we've yet to explore–from outer space to the deep ocean to our own brains. This hour, Manoush goes on a journey through those uncharted places, led by TED Science Curator David Biello.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#555 Coronavirus
It's everywhere, and it felt disingenuous for us here at Science for the People to avoid it, so here is our episode on Coronavirus. It's ok to give this one a skip if this isn't what you want to listen to right now. Check out the links below for other great podcasts mentioned in the intro. Host Rachelle Saunders gets us up to date on what the Coronavirus is, how it spreads, and what we know and don't know with Dr Jason Kindrachuk, Assistant Professor in the Department of Medical Microbiology and infectious diseases at the University of Manitoba. And...
Now Playing: Radiolab

Dispatch 1: Numbers
In a recent Radiolab group huddle, with coronavirus unraveling around us, the team found themselves grappling with all the numbers connected to COVID-19. Our new found 6 foot bubbles of personal space. Three percent mortality rate (or 1, or 2, or 4). 7,000 cases (now, much much more). So in the wake of that meeting, we reflect on the onslaught of numbers - what they reveal, and what they hide.  Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.