Experts say no sign of any human settlements close to 'largest necropolis in Asia for the extinct beasts’.
Paleontologists want to massively extend excavations at the site, known as Volchya Griva at Mamontovoye - or Mammoth - village. Picture: TSU
While a few human implements have been found at Mammoth village, there is a striking lack of man's presence at the probably most recent known large cemetery for the ancient giants, according to a new documentary from Tomsk State University.
The film appears to clear Paleothithic man of having much to do with the demise of the species here, although the creatures were clearly filleted for meat and hide, and their tusks were purloined some 10,000 to 14,000 years ago.
All the implements were not made of local stone, and in fact came from hundreds of kilometres away from the site in Novosibrisk region that may hold the key to why the the mammoths finally died out. They were less weapons than butchering tools, it is believed.
Volchya Griva is one of the youngest refugia of mammoths in Eurasia. It is already established mammoths were there 11,000-18,000 years ago. Pictures: TSU
So man did not live close to a place where the ailing mammoths came to die, but visited to raid the enfeebled animals after they tramped here from huge distances.
Paleontologists want to massively extend excavations at the site, known as Volchya Griva at Mamontovoye - or Mammoth - village after a dig in 2015 resulted in the discovery of more than 600 bones and teeth.
Eminent Soviet archeologist Aleksei Okladnikov in 1969 noticed how at the site 'bones were lying at the same level horizontally - and had no marks of any sort of catastrophic influence'.
The short documentary cites a number of leading experts noting the lack of human presence at the site. Academician Dr Vyacheslav Molodin, an archeologist, one of the first researchers at Volchya Griva, said: 'Of course when I went there I was hoping to find some human dwelling. But, unfortunately, we didn't find it.'
Dr Sergey Leshchinsky, head of the Laboratory of continental ecosystems of Mesozoic and Cenozoic of Tomsk State University, believes that osteoporosis was a key factor in the demise of the animals. Pictures: TSU, Sergey Leshchinsky
Dr Vasily Zenin, of the Institute of Archeology and Ethnography in Novosibirsk, said: 'It was expected to find a Paleolitic dwelling there, perhaps, some religious constructions.' However, 'when we started digging, it became obvious that presence of humans was very limited. There were no conditions for a permanent settlement in Volchya Griva or around it.'
Equally, the half dozen mammoth remains found during research in summer 2015 all appeared to have died relatively young. The creature had a lifespan of 60 to 80 years, but of the six animals found here included two that died between one and 12 years old, one under a year old and two between 12 and 25 years. Two were older than 25.
Eminent Soviet archeologist Aleksei Okladnikov noticed how at the site 'bones were lying at the same level horizontally - and had no marks of any sort of catastrophic influence'. Pictures: Vasily Zenin
Intriguingly, some 40% of the woolly mammoth bones found here show signs of bone diseases.
The Siberian Times has examined previously the theory of Dr Sergey Leshchinsky, head of the Laboratory of continental ecosystems of Mesozoic and Cenozoic of Tomsk State University, that osteoporosis was a key factor in the demise of the animals, and that the reason they came to this site was because it was a 'salt lick' offering them the chance to rectify mineral deficiencies.
Dr Vasily Zenin, of the Institute of Archeology and Ethnography in Novosibirsk: 'There were no conditions for a permanent settlement in Volchya Griva or around it.' Pictures: Vera Salnitskaya, TSU
Links to our previous stories are here.
He said on camera: 'It is a very young site. Volchya Griva is one of the youngest refugia of mammoths in Eurasia. It is already established mammoths were there 11,000-18,000 years ago, and it is the most southerly (refugium). One of the main questions now is when was the last wave of deaths of mammoths.'
It is clear that the site here has yet to reveal all its secrets. Despite the lack of man's presence on a grand scale here, Leshchinsky said: 'It is possible that thanks to such locations man actually survived' (in this part of Siberia).
And Zenin observed: 'The answer to question why mammoths died out and whether man contributed to that is yet to be found.'
Samples collected from the bones will be studied in the Centre of Geochronology, of the Siberian branch of Russian Academy of Science, and Georgia University, in the United States.
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