There was a time when a majestic elephant-like creature ever walks the earth for millions of years. This giant fur goes by the name mammoth. But around 10.000 years ago mammoths start to decline and estimated around 4000 years ago they went extinct. Their departure from this planet is because they can adapt to rapid climate change. Mammoths can’t adapt fast enough to the warmer climate that ends the Ice Age.
Yucheng Wang, a research associate in the Department of Zoology at the University of Cambridge and a visiting postdoctoral researcher at the University of Copenhagen said “Based on ancient DNA preserved in mammoth fossils, woolly mammoths became extinct around 10,000 years ago, possibly because of their interactions with humans.” But further analysis based on the mammoth eDNA from the sediment turns out that mammoths survived until 3,900 years ago, overlapping with humans for 20,000 years.
According to the Article Finding, The Cause Of Mammoth Extinction written by Sejal Davla, Ph.D. for The Scientist “Sedimentary eDNA samples are inherently difficult to examine because the DNA fragments come from numerous plants, animals, and microbial species. To establish the relationship between mammoths and their environment, Wang focused on plant sedimentary eDNA in over 500 samples collected from across North America, Asia, and Europe. Wang and his colleagues generated a reference genome database covering approximately 1,500 contemporary plant species to recognize which species’ DNA is present in the frozen mud samples. “They developed a database specifically for Arctic plants, and that allowed them to identify far more than had really been done before,” said Peter Heintzman, an associate professor in the Centre for Paleogenetics at the University of Norway, who was not part of the study.”
Looking ahead, Wang and his colleagues have a number of other species to identify in their eDNA samples, including genomes from animals, microbes, and insects. Getting a complete picture of the species present throughout time will help them understand the effects of climate change on the entire ecosystem.