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Mastodons and Mammoths of the Auvergne

  1. Jan 13, 2010 #1
    Next year there will be a international paleontologic congress about extinct trunk animals in France in the Auvergne. It's the idea that there should also be a book about that, to be ready at the the congress.

    I've been asked to translate the manuscript for that actually, just like the previous one about Sabertoothed cats. The translation is in two stages actually. I substitute Dutch words with English words and then somebody else, a native tongue, will change that into decent English.

    Not sure if this is the right forum as it is mostly about paleontology, the reseach to the flora and fauna of the geologic past. However, this is the first part of the prologue:

    Last edited: Jan 13, 2010
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 13, 2010 #2
    I'm also interested in the megafauna extinctions of the globe at the end of the pleistocene. There appears to be an age of around 50,000 to 40,000 years ago when a lot of megafauna appears to have become extinct, such as 6 species in Australia Archaeology and Australian Megafauna. There's more recent research, which I'm currently trying to locate. Disregarding the human element for the moment, I believe that a natural catastrophic event could have led to unexpeted climate change.

    edit - here it is Lost Giants Of Australia
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2010
  4. Jan 13, 2010 #3
    There is no specific link in this book about mass extinctions. What we see in Europe is gradual replacement of one species with another. For instance Borson's mastodon (Mammut borsoni) as first on scene in the Pliocene some 5 million years ago, but got gradually replaced by the mastodon of the Auvergne (Anancus arvernensis) some times towards the end of the Pliocene, only to be replaced once more by the Southerly mammoth (Mammuthus meriodionalis), which in turn evolved via the Steppe mammoth (Mammuthus trogontheri) halfway the Pleistocene, into the woolly mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius) in the late Pleistocene.

    What's perhaps more interesting is why these species were here in sequence apparantly taking over the habitats, while in North America similar species lived together in the same period.

    Anyway during the translation I may use this thread for questions about the use of language.
  5. Jan 13, 2010 #4
    North America was connected to Asia via the Bering land bridge from time to time. I remember reading that mammoth species crossed this barrier and therefore lived side by side.
    Fine by me.
  6. Jan 13, 2010 #5
    Which does not explain why mammoths and mastodons did not live side by side in Europe, although there is one exception, the European straight tusked Elephant (Elephas antiquus) coincided (is that a correct use?) with both the Steppe mammoth and the woolly mammoth during the mid to late Pleistocene, although this was a clear inhabitant of forests, while the mammoths were steppe dwellers.
  7. Jan 13, 2010 #6

    Attached Files:

  8. Jan 13, 2010 #7

    meanwhile I'm looking at this fragment.

    I'm looking at Chirurgijn. It's the Dutch medieval word for doctor (chirurg = surgeon). Obviously the dictionary does not cover medieval words. Anybody?
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2010
  9. Jan 13, 2010 #8


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    Staff: Mentor

    The word chirurgeon, is the archaic word for surgeon.
  10. Jan 13, 2010 #9
    Yep it's an old French word too, for surgeon.
  11. Jan 14, 2010 #10
    Thanks, Evo
  12. Jan 14, 2010 #11
    I don't think I have the time to delve so deeply into the evolution and distribution patterns of megafauna of just the Auvergne unfortunately Andre. I'm interested in the global issue and the many different timings and facets of these extinctions, as well as the reason they grew so big in the first place ('Hot Sun/Cold Sea' hypothesis imo). This leaves open the question that if a particular case can be viewed as without human influence, then it implies that a 'freak' extinction event occurred, rather than the familiar rhythms of the ice ages. The 'normal' abrupt climate changes obviously didn't cause extinction the many times before..
  13. Jan 14, 2010 #12
    Evo asked me to jump in here. Megafauna extinctions are staggered--basically tracking human arrivals (46,000 BP in Australia, 13,000 BP in the Americas, 6,000 BP in the Caribbean islands). Mammoths survived on the edges of Beringia into the Holocene--St. Paul Island off Alaska, Wrangel Island off Siberia. Their survival argues against climatic causation. The bolide theory of Firestone, West and Kennett is looking weak as new studies fail to replicate the microparticle concentrations at 12,900 BP that they reported.

    I recommend Gary Haynes recent book of American megafaunal extinctions.

  14. Jan 15, 2010 #13
    Thanks for the input drpaleo. I mentioned the book earlier and now that I've skimmed throught it, I totally agree on the conclusions and your consensus in general. I'm interested to know how you arrived at the 46,000 BP figure for Australia though. I'm not disagreeing, it's just that I'm not convinced early man had sea-crossing canoe technology 40,000 years ago. Pulse-Pause Of Austronesian Canoe Technology
  15. Jan 15, 2010 #14
    Several archaeological sites in Australia date to about 45-48,000 BP. Uranium-thorium dating of last representatives of Australian megafauna puts their extinction at ca. 46,000. Check out articles by Roberts et al., Gifford Miller et al. With lowered sea levels, maximum distance over water to Australia would have been ca. 50 miles. The watercraft used presumably would have been some sort of raft, not an oceangoing canoe. Amazingly, Homo erectus must have gotten to the island of Flores by rafting at ca. 800,000 BP (see research by Morland on this). Even more amazing, New World monkeys appear to descend from African proto-monkeys that rafted accidentally about 35 million yrs ago.
  16. Jan 15, 2010 #15
    This is new to me. Thanks for that, I'll do some googling and see what I can find. Incidentally, what do you make of the twice-size treetop pleistocene New World monkeys found in the longest cave in South America?
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2017
  17. Jan 15, 2010 #16
    Thanks for joining in the discussion, drpaleo. Obviously the discussions about extinction is likely about twice as old as the average age of the members here. But maybe some general words. The original Martin hypothesis is about naive mega fauna, unafraid for newly arriving lethal human hunters, that caused their extinction in general. However some species were already in decline before the arrival of humans, for instance horses in Alaska Dale Guthrie 2003. There is also study to the size of Mammuthus primigenius on the Taimyr peninsula in nothernmost Siberia towards extinction probably 9000 radiocarbon years ago.

    Furthermore it's interesting to see that several extinct species seem to have survived much longer after the Pleistocene Holocene boundary than originally assumed, there are several reports about young American mastodons Mammut Americanum, see this thread for instance. But also this and this.

    Furthermore the megafauna had coexisted in Eurasia with humans for ten thousands years and could not have been that naive anymore, yet most appeared to die out at the onset of the Bolling interstadial some 12,000 radiocarbon years ago, the woolly rhino for instance. On the other hand not a lot of people seem to have witnessed the death of the last Eurasian continental woolly mammoth 9000 years ago, while the youngest fossil of the presently extinct giant Irish elk is dated 7700 radiocarbon years BP (Stuart et al 2004, Nature 431 /7009); both in Siberia.

    Furthermore climate of islands like Wrangel island etc, is subject to other laws than the continental climate and there is still research on that.

    Anyway, we don't know when a certain species died out, for the simple reason that we can never be sure that we found the remains of the last specimen. They may still be out there somewhere or they don't exist anymore anyway, because conservation of fossils is an exception whereas a full decompostion of the remains is normal, so surprises -like the American mastodon- are still to be expected
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2010
  18. Jan 16, 2010 #17
    The cane and bamboo raft building would still require a significant technology innovation. I'm not convinced that early humans would have made sea crossings to lands beyond the horizon by raft, such as suggested for the colonisation of Australia 40,000 years ago. The crossing of the Wallace Line allows for visible land to be seen and so raft use is intuitive, but otherwise the peopling of Australia would have to have been by accident presumably? What do you think? If by accident, then these few survivors would have been very lucky to colonise the entire continent and bring about the extinction of the many megafauna in around 5000 years imo.
  19. Oct 24, 2010 #18
    The book is finally printed. I wrote a draft for a review.

    Dutch version

    One may recognize the picture:

    Last edited: Oct 24, 2010
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