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What's piqued the scientists about the skull unearthed this week is it's not big enough to qualify as a Columbian mammoth and not small enough to be a pygmy.
The pygmy mammoths, just 4 to 6 feet tall, roamed the island's grass lands and forests during the Pleistocene era, according to the National Park Service, which manages the islands.
"This (skull discovery) opens the possibility that this mammoth was intermediate in size between the two species," Bugbee said. "It could represent a transitional animal, somewhere on the way to becoming a completely dwarfed pygmy mammoth."
"But there's a third possibility that at the end of the last glacial period, mammoths could have been under stress with limited food resources with sea levels rising at the islands. Then the arrival of humans delivered the final blow."
so, did the mammoth go extinct before the arrival of humans to the island?; or, were humans the reason for the mammoth's extinction?
This undated photo, supplied by Channel Islands National Park, shows an exceptionally well preserved fossil of a complete mammoth skull unearthed by a team of scientists from an eroding stream bank on Santa Rosa Island within southern California's Channel Islands National Park. The USGS says the fossil found on Santa Rosa Island was in uplifted marine deposits that date to 80,000 years ago, much farther back in time than the last glacial period 25,000 to 12,000 years ago. (Channel Islands National Park Service via AP)
If I had to choose, and everyone I loved was already dead....I would just slink away with my pack of animals. And we'd be fine.