Frozen Mammoth's
The following is a copy of the full text of this article from the American Journal Science which I think poses some good questions vis a vis the usual discussions on mammoth extinctions.What is especially interesting is the reference to the volume of trade carried out at one time through London which indicates the enormous numbers of these large mammals which must have died simulaneously to have provided so much ivory to sustain this market.

Frozen Mammoths

In an earlier issue of Science (133,1961) William R.Farrand made a valiant attempt to salvage the gradualistic position of vis-a-vis the frozen mammoths. But these fossils of Siberian permafrost present an insuperable difficulty, for a theory of slow gradual geology. Baron Cuvier, one of the most critical observers of these remains, insisted that they were frozen suddenly. He wrote

" It is well known that its tusks are still so well preserved in cold countries that they are used for the same purposes as new Ivory, as we have before remarked, individuals have been found with the flesh,skin,and hair, which had been frozen since the final catastrophe of the globe. The Tartars and Chinese have imagined it to be an animal which lives underground, and perishes whenever it appears in daylight."

In the 1815 edition of Cuvier's Essay On The Theory of the Earth (pp.258-259) Jameson, the translator and editor, described the finding of a mammoth carcass (reported by Adams). "In the year 1799, a Tungusian fisherman observed a strange shapeless mass projecting from and ice-bank, near the mouth of a river in the north of Siberia, the nature of which he did not undestand, and which was so high in the bank as to be beyond his reach. The next year he observed the same object, which was then rather more disengaged from among the ice, but was still unable to concieve what it was. Towards the end of the following summer, 1801 he could distinctly see that it was the frozen carcass of an enormous animal, the entire flank of which and one of its tusks had become disengaged from the ice. In consequence of the ice beginning to melt earlier and to a greater degree than usual in 1803, the fifth year of this discovery the enormous carcass became entirely disengaged and fell down from the ice- crag on a sand bank forming part of the Arctic Ocean. In the month of March of that year, the Tungusian carried away the two tusks, which he sold for the value of fifty rubles; and at this time a drawing was made of the animal, of which I possess a copy.

"Two years afterwards, or in 1806, Mr. Adams went to examine this animal, which still remained on the sand-bank where it had fallen from the ice, but its body was then greatly mutilated."
Hundreds of thousands of these animals must have been suddenly killed and then preserved by freezing (Digby). Lydekker, in the Smithsonian Reports for 1899 (pp.361-366), reported that about 20,000 pairs of tusks in perfect condition were exported for the Ivory trade in the few decades preceeding 1899. "Buried Ivory" was apparantly in world trade even in Aristotle's time. These tusks, Lydekker wrote, must have been buried or at least frozen "comparatively quickly as exposure in their ordinary condition would speedily deteriorate the quality of the Ivory." Lydekker could not explain how these animals could have existed in such numbers in a region where their remains became so swifly frozen.

Neither sudden freezing nor climatic could make Farrand hesitate. After explaining the mammoth remains as fortunate accidents. He writes: " an apparent paradox remains-that the climate in Northern Siberia was warmer than at present in late glacial time when climates elsewhere on Earth werer cooler than at present." He admits the animals died in the warm season, probably summer or early fall,....when melting and solifluction would have been at a maximum and, accordingly locomotion would have been difficult." He concludes that the animals lost their footing in the melted tundra and were killed or drowned.

But according to the Russian expert on this subject (Tolmachoff, cited by Hapgood), the frozen remains are not found in rivers or holes but are often found on the highest points of the tundra. Analysis of the stomach contents of the Berezovka mammoth indicated a temperate climate vegetation. The mammoth was feeding itself in a forested area apparently in late summer. There was no swampy terrain. How, then, can we explain the preservation of flesh in frozen ground? No gradualistic process can result in the preservation of thousands of tusks and whole individuals, even if they died in the winter. They must have been frozen suddenly.

Apparently in spite of this evidence, Farrand concluded: "Since only the heavy footed giants of the fauna--the mammoths and whoolly rhinoceroses- have been found in the frozen state, it is very unlikely that a catastrophic congelation occurred in Siberia. On the contrary, the frozen giants are indicative of a normal and expected (uniformitarian) circumstance of life on the tundra." Unfortunately for Farrand's thesis, the mammoths are no longer existing in the salubrious northern Siberian environment. Farrands article explained nothing.

In his Lost Americans (Crowell, New York, 1946), Frank C.Hibben suggests a possible partial explanation: "One of the most interesting of the theories of the Pleistocene end is that which explains this ancient tragedy by world wide, earth-shaking volcanic eruptions of catastrophic violence. This bizarre idea, queerly enough, has considerable support, especially in the Alaskan and Siberia regions. Interspersed in the muck depths and sometimes through the very piles of bones and tusks themselves are layers of volcanic ash. There is no doubt that coincidental with the end of the Pleistocene animals, at least in Alaska, there were vocanic eruptions of tremendous proportions. It stands to reason that animals whose flesh is still preserved must have been killed and buried quickly to be preserved at all. Bodies that die and lay on the surface disintegrate soon and the bones are scattered. A volcanic eruption would explain this."

Tremendous amounts of volcanic dusts could have cut off sunlight and accelerated the onset of extreme cold. Volcanism can bring into the atmosphere huge quantities of water vapor. Huge blizzards and rainstorms, would ,therefore, have accompanied the cataclysm. Slurries of soil and debris, volcanic ashes and dusts and blizzards combined could result in sudden freezing in tundraa. A shift in location of the pole, possibly by means of the mechanism suggested by Hapgood, could have resulted in extreme cold and could have ensured the permanent preservation of the destroyed animals in the permafrost.

Whatever the precise mechanism, it is apparent that an unbiased observer must agree with what Baron Cuvier wrote well over a century ago: "Sudden catastrophes left, in the northern countries, carcasses of large quadrupeds frozen in the ice,....preserved down to the present with their skin, their hair, and their flesh. If they had not been frozen as soon as killed, putrefaction would have decomposed them. And besides, this external frost did not previously exist in those parts in which they were frozen, for they could not have existed in such a temperature. The same instant that these animals were berefit of life, the country which they inhabited became frozen. This event was sudden, momentary, without gradation." Harold E. Lippman

The extermination of the mammoths is part of a larger picture of geologic change that is impossible to reconcile with orthodox gradualism. See also the evidence of sudden death from Alaska


Lippman's article is from Science #137:pp.449-450, 1962.

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