Previously, an expedition from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) found clues to mammoths 3,000 meters underwater, 185 miles off the California coast. They retrieved a 3-foot-long section of mammoth tusk. This fragment of ivory begins to reveal its secrets.
The research agency first discovered the tusk 10,000 feet below the waves during a 2019 expedition. “When exploring the deep sea, you start to ‘expect the unexpected,’ but I’m still stunned that we encountered the ancient tusks of mammoths,” marine biologist Steven Haddock said in a statement from MBARI last week.
Researchers from MBARI and several universities are now studying the tusk, which is remarkably well preserved by the marine environment. It comes from a mammoth in Colombia and is estimated to be more than 100,000 years old. The team is studying its internal structure and expect to be able to accurately determine the age of the animal.
“The deep-sea preservation of this specimen is almost unlike anything we’ve seen anywhere else,” said University of Michigan paleontologist and mammoth expert Daniel Fisher. “Other mammoths have been recovered from the ocean, but not generally from the ocean.” It was fished out from a depth of more than tens of meters.”