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nat4b
11 April 2023, 00:23

And not so fluffy: scientists have refuted generally accepted ideas about mammoths

And not so fluffy: scientists have refuted generally accepted ideas about mammoths
Researchers from Switzerland decided to conduct an unusual experiment, deciding to prove that the generally accepted ideas about mammoths are wrong. They compared the genomes of 23 Siberian woolly mammoths (Mammuthus primigenius) with those of 28 modern Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) and African elephants (Loxodonta).

After a comparative analysis, scientists came to the conclusion that over the course of more than 700,000 years of the existence of huge extinct animals, their genome changed. Firstly, they were interested in the question of what makes a mammoth woolly. 

As it turned out, woolly individuals had some very characteristic morphological features – thick fur, small ears. They were also characterized by a special fat metabolism and the perception of cold.

As for the defining features of the species – fluffy fur, fat deposits and ability to withstand cold, they took place when the woolly mammoth split from the steppe (Mammuthus trogontherii), one of its ancestors.

During a comparative analysis of the genomes, scientists found some highly developed genes that are associated with metabolism and fat accumulation.

Source: cell.com

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