“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Saturday, October 06, 2012

"Its one-metre-long penis is also intact so we can conclude that this was a male," Mr Tikhonov said, adding it also had one 1.5-metre-long tusk.

Russian boy discovers 'woolly mammoth of the century'
An 11-year-old boy from a nomadic family in Russia's north has discovered a well-preserved woolly mammoth, in what scientists describe as the best such discovery since 1901.

Yevgeny Salinder, whose family lives near a polar station in the northern Taymyr Peninsula, discovered the frozen prehistoric animal when he was walking along the banks of the Yenisei River in late August.

"He sensed an unpleasant odour and saw something sticking out of the ground – it was the mammoth's heels," said Alexei Tikhonov, director of the St Petersburg-based Zoological Museum, who rushed to the tundra after the boy's family notified scientists of the historic find.

Mr Tikhonov said it was the best preserved adult mammoth discovered in more than 100 years.

"So far we can say it is the mammoth of the century," he said.
"An employee of the International Mammoth Committee and me went to the site. Judging by its legs, it turned out to be quite a large mammoth, it was lying on its right side at the height of 5 metres (15 feet) above sea level. We had to start the excavation as soon as possible and there were just the two of us."

Joined by employees of the nearby Sopkarga polar station, the scientists spent five days digging out the animal.
Mr Tikhonov said the mammoth had died aged 15-16 around 30,000 years ago, adding that the tusk, skin, an eye and an ear were clearly visible.

"Its one-metre-long penis is also intact so we can conclude that this was a male," Mr Tikhonov said, adding it also had one 1.5-metre-long tusk.
"Its skeleton is virtually intact and its heart in the rib cage may be intact, too."

The precious find weighing nearly one tonne was transported to the northern city of Dudinka and will later be brought to St Petersburg and Moscow where scientists can study it.

Mr Tikhonov said that geneticists might be interested in trying to clone the animal, dubbed Zhenya after the nickname of the boy who discovered it, but he suggested that this would be difficult.

Global warming has thawed ground in northern Russia that is usually almost permanently frozen, leading to the discoveries of a number of mammoth remains.
Source: AFP


  1. Replies
    1. Original Sin

      The man-brained and man-handed ground-ape, physically
      The most repulsive of all hot-blooded animals
      Up to that time of the world: they had dug a pitfall
      And caught a mammoth, but how could their sticks and stones
      Reach the life in that hide? They danced around the pit, shrieking
      With ape excitement, flinging sharp flints in vain, and the stench of their bodies
      Stained the white air of dawn; but presently one of them
      Remembered the yellow dancer, wood-eating fire
      That guards the cave-mouth: he ran and fetched him, and others
      Gathered sticks at the wood’s edge; they made a blaze
      And pushed it into the pit, and they fed it high, around the mired sides
      Of their huge prey. They watched the long hairy trunk
      Waver over the stifle trumpeting pain,
      And they were happy.

      Meanwhile the intense color and nobility of sunrise,
      Rose and gold and amber, flowed up the sky. Wet rocks were shining, a little wind
      Stirred the leaves of the forest and the marsh flag-flowers; the soft valley between the low hills
      Became as beautiful as the sky; while in its midst, hour after hour, the happy hunters
      Roasted their living meat slowly to death.

      These are the people.
      This is the human dawn. As for me, I would rather

      Be a worm in a wild apple than a son of man.
      But we are what we are, and we might remember
      Not to hate any person, for all are vicious;
      And not be astonished at any evil, all are deserved;
      And not fear death; it is the only way to be cleansed.

      Robinson Jeffers

    2. Hunted to extinction in North America by the rhythmic eco-balanced nature preserving harmonious Native Americans?

      How Did the Mammoths Go Extinct?
      One of the potential culprits has been ruled out, but the debate rages over what killed off the last mammoths.

      Woolly Mammoth

      The fate of mammoths on Wrangel Island is not necessarily a microcosm for the species as a whole.

      The last known population of woolly mammoths, roaming a remote Arctic island long after humans invented writing, were wiped out quickly, reports a study released Wednesday.

      The culprit might have been disease, humans or a catastrophic weather event, but was almost certainly not climate change, suggests the study, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

      Exactly why a majority of the huge tuskers that once strode in large herds across Eurasia and north America died out toward the end of the last ice age has generated fiery debate.

      Some experts hold that mammoths were hunted to extinction beginning some 10,000 years ago by the species that was to become the planet's dominant predator -- humans.

      Related Links:

      Neanderthals Made Mammoth Jerky

      Others argue that climate change was more to blame, leaving a species adapted for frigid climes ill-equipped to cope with a warming world.

      It has long been known that a colony of woolly mammoths survived up until about four thousand years ago on what is today Russia's Wrangel Island, north of Siberia in the Arctic Ocean.

      Radiocarbon dating shows that at least a few hardy individuals were still hanging on as late as 1700 B.C.

      "It could be that the island was simply too small to support a long-term viable mammoth population," the authors speculated.

      About 7,600 square kilometers (2,900 square miles) in area, Wrangel Island is a bit smaller than Corsica or Puerto Rico.

      Once connected to the mainland by an ice bridge, Wrangel was gradually cut off by water 12,000 to 9,000 years ago.

      A loss of genetic variation could also have resulted from the shift in climate as Earth entered the so-called interglacial period, a boon for many animals, but not for the giant tuskers, the study said.

      To their surprise, however, the researchers found that genetic diversity remained stable, and even increased slightly, right up to the bitter end.

      "This suggests that the final extinction was caused by a relatively sudden, rather than gradual, change in the mammoths' environment," the study said.

      Humans appear to have arrived on the island about 100 years after the huge mammals had vanished, according to archeological data.

      This would exculpate Homo sapiens from killing off the last mammoths, though it is possible humans arrived earlier but left no trace.

      That leaves climate or disease, the researchers hypothesize, noting that a sudden event -- a mega-storm, for example -- or a novel bacteria or virus could have wiped out the remaining population.

      The fate of mammoths on Wrangel Island, they caution, is not necessarily a microcosm for the species as a whole because islands exert unique evolutionary pressures on animal species.

      One theory is that expanding forests in Europe and parts of Asia robbed the grass-eating mammoths of their preferred habitat, gradually starving them to death.

    3. Neanderthals Made Mammoth Jerky

      This sounds promising.

      I hope they can clone the wooly mammoth.


      Budweiser and Mammmoth Jerky, and ivory bling for Madonna!

    4. Humans Broke Off Neanderthal Sex After Discovering Eurasia

      (the last tango in Paris)

      Neanderthals apparently last interbred with the ancestors of today's Europeans after modern humans with advanced stone tools expanded out of Africa, researchers say.

      The last sex between Neanderthals and modern humans likely occurred as recently as 47,000 years ago, the researchers added.

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