Aberrant woolly mammoth remains in the collection of the Ice Age Museum

I.V. Kirillova and F.K. Shidlovskiy

Proceedings of the Zoological Institute RAS, 2018, 322(3): 285–305  ·  https://doi.org/10.31610/trudyzin/2018.322.3.285

Full text  

Abstract

The largest private natural history museum dedicated to the last stage of the Cenozoic history of northeastern Russia, the Ice Age Museum stores and studies the remains of fossil and modern Arctic mammals. Its funds include skeletons, isolated bones and teeth. A special place in the collection is occupied by the remains of a mammoth, Mammuthus primigenius (Blumenbach, 1799), with unusual and rarely encountered morphological features. The aberrant specimens are divided into three groups: skeletal remains, bones and teeth. The most expressive of them are characterized. Abnormalities found on the skeleton of a mammoth female from the Taimyr Peninsula (displacement of teeth m2 and m3 transversely to the mandibular bone, lifetime fractures of the ribs and incomplete fusion of the neural arc of the atlas), we attribute to individual characteristics. Growth of thoracic vertebrae tissues due to ligamentos and ostephitos, considerable deformations of cervical and thoracic vertebrae are pathologies that hampered the life of mammoths and led to death. The most frequent of them, according to our materials, is the bend of the posterior part of the crown (varying degrees of intensity) and the development of horizontal furrows parallel to the level of the chewing surface and the lysis of the outer cement as a result of the action of the oral microorganisms. The most frequent deviations in the structure of the buccal teeth, according to our materials, are two: 1) the bend of the posterior part of the crown (varying degrees of intensity); 2) the dissolution lines on the cement of the crown parallel to the chewing surface as a result of the vital activity of microorganisms in the oral cavity. New cases of tusks’ aberrations are described: dentinal clots in the wall of the tusk alveoli and at the base of the tusk, annular constrictions fixing the growth retardation, deviations in the formation of annual cone-shaped increments. The aberrant remains illustrate the life history of a fossil elephant.

Key words

aberrations, teeth, bones, mammoth, northeast Russia

Submitted January 30, 2018  ·  Accepted August 28, 2018  ·  Published September 26, 2018

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