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Lessee now

Early woolly mammoths were fluffy with big ears, study finds

So, elephant things, so big ears. And they’re called woolly, so fluffy, yes.

Science just advances so quickly, doesn’t it?

11 thoughts on “Lessee now”

  1. Over a century ago, people were melting the permafrost in Siberia and excavating frozen mammoths. They did the work by building sheds over the corpses and lighting fires. Perhaps the smell was so horrible that they have waited till now before inspecting the results?

  2. How does Sarah Knapton rate as a Science Correspondent? Is she worse than all the others? The token female?

  3. The Meissen Bison

    @ Diogenes

    I think she’s a cut above having been one of the very, very few to hint at disobliging (from the point of view of “The Narrative”) questions during the last three years. Head not above parapet but a few whisps of hair nonetheless.

  4. Otto, was Mrs Ann Elk the one whose theory, which was her own and nobody else’s, was that the brontosaurus was small at one end, big in the middle and then got small again?

  5. @JuliaM They do that kind of studies to see what the code actually means and what it does.
    And how it has changed over the millennia to adapt to known geological/climate factors.

    Ultimately, research like this is to answer “some” questions on how that “build a creature” code in our DNA actually works.
    And to do that, you need actual readable samples of DNA at various points in time, where time is measured in geological timescales.
    You know, those verifyable points in the timeline that you can use to play connect-the-dots. The actual physical proof needed to verify scientific hypotheses, and promote it to theory.

    Mammoths are used for that because they are basically the only species of mammal we have for which we have those multiple points in time, because they were frozen in permafrost.
    Which is the only way of preservation DNA actually survives in. All other ways of fossilisation destroys DNA or renders it useless.
    We have mammoth DNA samples spanning several 100.000 years, and close living relatives where we can nab the DNA from.
    Code comparison Valhalla.

    The article in the terriblegraph is just ..well.. terrible.
    The actual scientific article is a tad more interesting.
    It does say mammoths started fluffy and developed from there. But what it actually says is:
    “We have been able to identify a number of mammoth genes related to pachiderm evolution and adaptation, and have been able to track their development through time. We may also have found some other “Hey…That’s funny” things.”

    The actual significance of the article is not that mammoths started out fluffy and then became shaggy.
    It’s the confirmation that the database tools and models used to reverse-engineer evolutionary descent have become accurate and fast enough to be useful.
    Which means we can start on the Real Job™ and start not looking at the genes that are different, but at the genes that are the same.
    And can finally start cracking the code of how to get from a single cell to a hairless ape.
    And some other minor interesting stuff, like how much of our intelligence and behaviour is hardwired, and whether or not the DNA blueprint is absolute or more a detailed guideline nudging an emergent process.

    Little things, nothing as important as the latest form of microagression against the Rainbow Warriors, but I like to dabble in them.

  6. Rowdy, IIRC, Ms Elk’s theory was that it was thin (rather than small) at one end, thick (rather than big) in the middle and thin at the other…. Could be wrong, tho’

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