Feeds

Miniature woolly mammoths once roamed Crete

Dog-sized hippos, dumbos also wandered holiday paradise

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

Minute woolly mammoths roamed the Greek holiday island of Crete 1 to 2 million years ago, boffins have claimed after examining fossilised teeth and a leg bone.

Standing 1.13m (3ft 8") tall and weighing 130kg (20st 4lbs), the furry, curly-tusked creatures would have been about one-third the size of the full-blown mammoths who lived in places such as Siberia and reached heights of 3.2m (10ft). The tiny Mammuthus creticus would have shared the Mediterranean islands with dwarf hippos and deer.

Remains of dwarf mammoths have been found on islands off California and Siberia, but the Cretan Woolly Mammoth would have been the smallest mammoth of them all, say the scientists in an article published this week.

After poring over ridge patterns in teeth and a recently discovered forelimb bone, researchers Victoria Herridge and Adrian Lister from London's Natural History Museum have concluded that what they had originally thought was a small elephant was in fact a dwarf mammoth.

The ridges and loops found on the tooth enamel are only found in mammoth tusks.

“This creature would look like a baby Asian elephant, only chunkier and with curvy tusks,” Herridge told Nature.

Dating from around the early Pleistocene period, the tiny woolly mammoth would have shared the island with tiny hippos and tiny elephants, as dwarfism is a trait often occuring on islands.

One theory on the frequency of dwarfism on islands posits that natural selection favours small creatures that can get by in a small place with limited resources. Animals grow bigger from generation to generation on big continents, where the need to defend territory from predators is more important.

“Anything that gets stuck on an island can be affected by dwarfism," Martin Sander, a vertebrate palaeontologist at the University of Bonn in Germany told Nature. ®

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

More from The Register

next story
Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 claimed lives of HIV/AIDS cure scientists
Researchers, advocates, health workers among those on shot-down plane
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Mwa-ha-ha-ha! Eccentric billionaire Musk gets his PRIVATE SPACEPORT
In the Lone Star State, perhaps appropriately enough
Diary note: Pluto's close-up is a year from … now!
New Horizons is less than a year from the dwarf planet
Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS FOUND ON MOON
NASA won't be back any time soon, sadly
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Mobile application security vulnerability report
The alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, and the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.