The Eurasian wolf known as the common wolf or Middle Russian forest wolf, is a subspecies of grey wolf native to Europe and the forest and steppe zones of the former Soviet Union. It was once widespread throughout Eurasia prior to the Middle Ages. Aside from an extensive paleontological and genetic record, Indo-European languages have several words for wolf, thus attesting to the animal's abundance and cultural significance, it was held in high regard in Baltic, Slavic, ancient Greek and Thracian cultures, whilst having an ambivalent reputation in early Germanic cultures. It is the largest of Old World grey wolves, averaging 39 kg in Europe, its fur is short and coarse, is of a tawny colour, with white on the throat that extends to the cheeks. Melanists and erythrists are rare, the result of wolf-dog hybridisation; the howl of the Eurasian wolf is much more protracted and melodious than that of North American grey wolf subspecies, whose howls are louder and have a stronger emphasis on the first syllable.
The two are, mutually intelligible, as North American wolves have been recorded to respond to European-style howls made by biologists. Many Eurasian wolf populations are forced to subsist on livestock and garbage in areas with dense human activity, though wild ungulates such as moose, red deer, roe deer and wild boar are still the most important food sources in Russia and the more mountainous regions of Eastern Europe. Other prey species include reindeer, mouflon, saiga, chamois, wild goats, fallow deer and musk deer. In describing North American wolves, John Richardson used European wolves as a basis for comparison, summarising the differences between the two forms as so: The European wolf's head is narrower, tapers to form the nose, produced on the same plane with the forehead, its ears are somewhat nearer to each other. Its loins are more slender, its legs longer, feet narrower, its tail is more thinly clothed with fur; the shorter ears, broader forehead, thicker muzzle of the American Wolf, with the bushiness of the hair behind the cheek, give it a physiognomy more like the social visage of an Esquimaux dog than the sneaking aspect of a European Wolf.
The size of Eurasian wolves is subject to geographic variation, with animals in Russia and Scandinavia being larger and bulkier than those residing in Western Europe, having been compared by Theodore Roosevelt to the large wolves of north-western Montana and Washington. Adults from Russia measure 105–160 centimetres in length, 80–85 centimetres in shoulder height, weigh on average 32–50 kilograms, with a maximum weight of 69–80 kilograms; the largest on record was killed after World War II in the Kobelyakski Area of the Poltavskij Region in the Ukrainian SSR, weighed 86 kilograms. Larger weights of 92–96 kilograms have been reported in Ukraine, though the circumstances under which these latter animals were weighed are not known. Although similar in size to central Russian wolves and Norwegian wolves tend to be more built with deeper shoulders. One wolf killed in Romania was recorded to have weighed 72 kilograms. In Italian wolves, excepting the tail, body length ranges between 110–148 cm, while shoulder height is 50–70 cm.
Males weigh between 25–35 kilograms and 45 kilograms. The now extinct British wolves are known to have reached similar sizes to Arctic wolves; the extermination of Northern Europe's wolves first became an organized effort during the Middle Ages, continued until the late 1800s. In England, wolf persecution was enforced by legislation, the last wolf was killed in the early sixteenth century during the reign of Henry VII. Wolves survived longer in Scotland, where they sheltered in vast tracts of forest, which were subsequently burned down. Wolves managed to survive in the forests of Braemar and Sutherland until 1684; the extirpation of wolves in Ireland followed a similar course, with the last wolf believed to have been killed in 1786. A wolf bounty was introduced in Sweden in 1647, after the extermination of moose and reindeer forced wolves to feed on livestock; the Sami extirpated wolves in northern Sweden in organized drives. By 1960, few wolves remained in Sweden, due to the use of snowmobiles in hunting them, with the last specimen being killed in 1966.
The grey wolf was exterminated in Denmark in 1772 and Norway's last wolf was killed in 1973. The species was wiped out in 20th century Finland, despite regular dispersals from Russia; the grey wolf was present only in the eastern and northern parts of Finland by 1900, though its numbers increased after World War II. Although the Finnish wolf population rose by 2005 to 250 individuals, by 2013 their numbers had again declined to the mid-1990s figure of around 140; this was despite government measures to keep breeding numbers viable. At the beginning of 2016 the wolf population was 300 - 350 individuals. In Central Europe, wolves were reduced in number during the early nineteenth century, due to organized hunts and reductions in ungulate populations. In Bavaria, the last wolf was killed in 1847, had disappeared from the Rhine regions by 1899 and disappeared in Switzerland before the end of the nineteenth century. In 1934, Nazi Germany introduced the first legislation regulating the protection of wolves.
The last free-living wolf to be killed on the soil of present-day Germany before
The Yenisei Romanised Yenisey, Jenisej, is the largest river system flowing to the Arctic Ocean. It is the central of the three great Siberian rivers. Rising in Mongolia, it follows a northerly course to the Yenisei Gulf in the Kara Sea, draining a large part of central Siberia, the longest stream following the Yenisei-Angara-Selenga-Ider river system; the maximum depth of the Yenisei is 24 metres and the average depth is 14 metres. The depth of river outflow is 32 metres and inflow is 31 metres; the river flows through Tuva and the city of Krasnoyarsk. Its tributaries include Nizhnyaya Tunguska, Podkamennaya Tunguska and Tuba rivers; the 320-kilometre navigable Upper Angara River feeds into the northern end of Lake Baikal from the Buryat Republic but the largest inflow is from the Selenga which forms a delta on the southeastern side. The Yenisei River basin is home to 55 native fish species, including two endemics: Gobio sibiricus and Thymallus nigrescens; the grayling is restricted to its tributaries.
Most fish found in the Yenisei River basin are widespread Euro-Siberian or Siberian species, such as northern pike, common roach, common dace, Siberian sculpin, European perch and Prussian carp. The basin is home to many salmonids and the Siberian sturgeon; the Yenisei River valley is habitat for numerous flora and fauna, with Siberian pine and Siberian larch being notable tree species. In prehistoric times Scots pine, Pinus sylvestris, was abundant in the Yenisei River valley circa 6000 BC. There are numerous bird species present in the watershed, for example, the hooded crow, Corvus cornix; the Taimyr reindeer herd, a migrating tundra reindeer, the largest reindeer herd in the world, migrated to winter grazing ranges along the Yenisei River. River steamers first came to the Yenesei River in 1864 and were brought in from Holland and England across the icy Kara Sea. One was the SS Nikolai; the SS Thames attempted to explore the river, overwintered in 1876, but was damaged in the ice and wrecked in the river.
Success came with the steamers Frazer, Express in 1878, the next year, Moscow hauling supplies in and wheat out. The Dalman reached Yeneisisk in 1881. Imperial Russia placed river steamers on the massive river in an attempt to free up communication with land-locked Siberia. One boat was the SS St. Nicholas which took the future Tsar Nicholas II on his voyage to Siberia, conveyed Vladimir Lenin to prison. Engineers attempted to place river steamers on regular service on the river during the building of the Trans-Siberian Railway; the boats were needed to bring in the rails and supplies. Captain Joseph Wiggins sailed the Orestes with rail and parted out river steamers in 1893. However, the sea and river route proved difficult with several ships lost at sea and on the river. Both the Ob and Yenisei mouths feed into long inlets, several hundred miles in length, which are shallow, ice bound and prone to high winds and thus treacherous for navigation. After the completion of the railway, river traffic reduced only to local service as the Arctic route and long river proved much too indirect a route.
The first recreation team to navigate the Yenisei's entire length, including its violent upper tributary in Mongolia, was an Australian-Canadian effort completed in September 2001. Ben Kozel, Tim Cope, Colin Angus and Remy Quinter were on this team. Both Kozel and Angus wrote books detailing this expedition, a documentary was produced for National Geographic Television. A canal inclined plane was built on the river in 1985 at the Krasnoyarsk Dam. Nomadic tribes such as the Ket people and the Yugh people have lived along the banks of the Yenisei river since ancient times, this region is the location of the Yeniseian language family; the Ket, numbering about 1000, are the only survivors today of those who lived throughout central southern Siberia near the river banks. Their extinct relatives included the Kotts, Arins and Pumpokols who lived further upriver to the south; the modern Ket lived in the eastern middle areas of the river before being assimilated politically into Russia during the 17th through 19th centuries.
Some of the earliest known evidence of Turkic origins was found in the Yenisei Valley in the form of stelae, stone monoliths and memorial tablets dating from between the 7th and 9th centuries AD, along with some documents that were found in China's Xinjiang region. The written evidence gathered from these sources tells of battles fought between the Turks and the Chinese and other legends. There are examples of Uyghur poetry, though most have survived only in Chinese translation. Wheat from the Yenisei was sold by Muslims and Uighurs during inadequate harvests to Bukhara and Soghd during the Tahirid era. Russians first reached the upper Yenisei in 1605, travelling from the Ob River, up the Ket River and down the Yenisei as far as the Sym River. During World War II, Nazi Germany and the Japanese Empire agreed to divide Asia along a line that followed the Yenisei River to the border of China, along the border of China and the Soviet Union. Studies have shown that the Yenisei suffers from contamination caused by
Hunting is the practice of killing or trapping animals, or pursuing or tracking them with the intent of doing so. Hunting wildlife or feral animals is most done by humans for food, recreation, to remove predators that can be dangerous to humans or domestic animals, or for trade. Lawful hunting is distinguished from poaching, the illegal killing, trapping or capture of the hunted species; the species that are hunted are referred to as game or prey and are mammals and birds. Hunting has long been a practice used to procure meat for human consumption; the meat from a healthy wild animal that has lived its life and on a natural diet of plants has a higher nutritional quality than that of a domestic animal, raised in an unnatural way. Hunting an animal for its meat can be seen as a more natural way to obtain animal protein since regulated hunting does not cause the same environmental issues as raising domestic animals for meat on factory farms. Hunting can be a means of pest control. Hunting advocates state that hunting can be a necessary component of modern wildlife management, for example, to help maintain a population of healthy animals within an environment's ecological carrying capacity when natural checks such as predators are absent or rare.
However, excessive hunting has heavily contributed to the endangerment and extinction of many animals. The pursuit and release, or capture for food of fish is called fishing, not categorised as a form of hunting, it is not considered hunting to pursue animals without intent to kill them, as in wildlife photography, birdwatching, or scientific research activities which involve tranquilizing or tagging of animals or birds. The practice of foraging or gathering materials from plants and mushrooms is considered separate from hunting. Skillful tracking and acquisition of an elusive target has caused the word hunt to be used in the vernacular as a metaphor, as in treasure hunting, "bargain hunting", "hunting down" corruption and waste. Animal rights activists argue that hunting is cruel and unethical; the word hunt serves as a verb. The noun has been dated to the early 12th century, "act of chasing game," from the verb hunt. Old English had huntung, huntoþ; the meaning of "a body of persons associated for the purpose of hunting with a pack of hounds" is first recorded in the 1570s.
Meaning "the act of searching for someone or something" is from about 1600. The verb, Old English huntian "to chase game" developed from hunta "hunter," is related to hentan "to seize," from Proto-Germanic huntojan, of uncertain origin; the general sense of "search diligently" is first recorded c. 1200. Hunting has a long history, it pre-dates the emergence of Homo sapiens and may predate genus Homo. The oldest undisputed evidence for hunting dates to the Early Pleistocene, consistent with the emergence and early dispersal of Homo erectus, about 1.7 million years ago. While it is undisputed that Homo erectus were hunters, the importance of this for the emergence of Homo erectus from its australopithecine ancestors, including the production of stone tools and the control of fire, is emphasised in the so-called "hunting hypothesis" and de-emphasised in scenarios that stress omnivory and social interaction. There is no direct evidence for hunting predating Homo erectus, in either Homo habilis or in Australopithecus.
The early hominid ancestors of humans were frugivores or omnivores, with a carnivore diet from scavenging rather than hunting. Evidence for australopithecine meat consumption was presented in the 1990s, it has often been assumed that at least occasional hunting behavior may have been present well before the emergence of Homo. This can be argued on the basis of comparison with chimpanzees, the closest extant relatives of humans, who engage in hunting, indicating that the behavioral trait may have been present in the Chimpanzee–human last common ancestor as early as 5 million years ago; the common chimpanzee engages in troop predation behaviour where bands of beta males are led by an alpha male. Bonobos have been observed to engage in group hunting, although more than Pan troglodytes subsisting on a frugivorous diet. Indirect evidence for Oldowan era hunting, by early Homo or late Australopithecus, has been presented in a 2009 study based on an Oldowan site in southwestern Kenya. Louis Binford criticised the idea that early humans were hunters.
On the basis of the analysis of the skeletal remains of the consumed animals, he concluded that hominids and early humans were scavengers, not hunters, Blumenschine proposed the idea of confrontational scavenging, which involves challenging and scaring off other predators after they have made a kill, which he suggests could have been the leading method of obtaining protein-rich meat by early humans. Stone spearheads dated as early as 500,000 years ago were found in South Africa. Wood does not preserve well and Craig Stanford, a primatologist and professor of anthropology at the University of Southern California, has suggested that the discovery of spear use by chimpanzees means that early humans used wooden spears as well five million years ago; the earliest dated find of surviving wooden hunting spears dates to the end of the Lower Paleolithic, just before 300,000 years ago. The Schöningen spears, found in 1976 in Germany, are
The short-faced bears is an extinct bear genus that inhabited North America during the Pleistocene epoch from about 1.8 Mya until 11,000 years ago. It was most abundant in California. There are two recognized species: Arctodus pristinus and Arctodus simus, with the latter considered to be one of the largest known terrestrial mammalian carnivores that has existed, it has been hypothesized that their extinction coincides with the Younger Dryas period of global cooling commencing around 10,900 BC. The name short-faced bear derives from the shape of their skulls, which appear to have a disproportionately short snout compared to other bears; this characteristic is shared by its extant relative the spectacled bear. However, this apparent shortness is an illusion caused by short nasal regions; the scientific name of the genus, derives from Greek, means "bear tooth". The short-faced bear belongs to a group of bears known as the Tremarctinae, which appeared in North America during the earliest parts of the late Miocene epoch in the form of Plionarctos, a genus considered ancestral to Arctodus.
During the Great American Interchange that followed the joining of North and South America, tremarctines invaded South America, leading to the evolution of Arctotherium and the modern spectacled bear. Although the early history of Arctodus is poorly known, it evidently became widespread in North America by the Kansan age about 800,000 years ago. Arctodus simus first appeared during the middle Pleistocene in North America, about 800,000 years ago, ranging from Alaska to Mississippi, it became extinct about 11,600 years ago, its fossils were first found in Shasta County, California. It might have been the largest carnivorous land mammal that lived in North America. A giant short-faced bear skeleton has been found in Indiana, unearthed south of Rochester, it has become well known in scientific circles because it was the most nearly complete skeleton of a giant short-faced bear found in America. The original bones are in the Field Chicago. Arctodus pristinus inhabited more southerly areas, ranging from northern Texas to New Jersey in the east, Mexico to the southwest, with large concentrations in Florida, the oldest from the Santa Fe River 1 site of Gilchrist County, Florida paleontological sites.
In a recent study, the mass of six A. simus specimens was estimated, one-third of them weighed about 900 kg, the largest being UVP 015 at 957 kg, suggesting specimens that big were more common than thought. It stood 8–10 feet tall on hind legs while a large specimen would have been 11–12 feet tall with a 14-foot vertical arm reach; when walking on all fours, it stood 5–6 feet high at the shoulder: It was tall enough to look a man in the eye. At Riverbluff Cave, Missouri, a series of claw marks up to 15 feet high have been found along the cave wall indicating short-faced bears up to 12 feet tall. Researchers disagree on the diet of Arctodus. Analysis of bones from Alaska showed high concentrations of nitrogen-15, a stable nitrogen isotope accumulated by meat-eaters, with no evidence of ingestion of vegetation. Based on this evidence, A. simus was suggested to have been carnivorous and as an adult would have required 16 kg of flesh per day to survive. Others point out that the species would have had a varied diet across its range, that the short-faced bear's skull shares many features with herbivorous bears and did include some plant matter in its diet.
One proposal for its predatory habits envisages A. simus as a brutish predator that overwhelmed the large mammals of the Pleistocene with its great physical strength. However, some suggest that despite being large, its limbs were too gracile for such an attack strategy; because its long legs enabled it to run at speeds of 50–70 km/h, an alternative hypothesis is that it may have hunted by running down Pleistocene herbivores, such as wild horses and saiga antelopes, in a cheetah-like fashion, at one time earning it the name "running bear". However, during pursuit of speedy game animals, the bear's sheer physical mass would be a handicap. Arctodus skeletons do not articulate in a way that would have allowed for quick turns – an ability required of any predator that survives by chasing down agile prey. A 2010 study found the "long-legged" features of the bear are an illusion created by the animal's short back. Arctodus moved in a pacing motion like a camel and modern bears, making it built more for endurance than for great speed.
A. simus, according to these arguments, was ill-equipped to be an active predator, leading some to conclude that it was a kleptoparasite, using its enormous size to intimidate smaller predators, such as dire wolves, saber-tooth cats, American lions, or chase them from their kills and steal their food. This idea was challenged in a 2013 study of the micro-wear of the teeth of various extant and extinct bears; the researchers concluded that the short-faced bear was not a pure scavenger and in fact was less of a scavenger than the modern polar bear. A 2010 study concluded that the species was neither a super-predator nor pure scavenger but an opportunistic omnivore like modern brown bears; some authors suggest that the giant short-faced bear and the cave bear were omnivores, like most modern bears, the former may have eaten plants depending on availability. Pleistocene megafauna
In terrestrial zoology, megafauna are large or giant animals. The most common thresholds used are weight over 40 kilograms or 44 kilograms or over a tonne, 1,000 kilograms; the first of these include many species not popularly thought of as overly large, such as white-tailed deer and red kangaroo. In practice, the most common usage encountered in academic and popular writing describes land mammals larger than a human that are not domesticated; the term is associated with the Pleistocene megafauna – the land animals larger than modern counterparts considered archetypical of the last ice age, such as mammoths, the majority of which in northern Eurasia, the Americas and Australia became extinct within the last forty thousand years. It is commonly used for the largest extant wild land animals elephants, hippopotamuses and large bovines. Megafaunal species may be subcategorized by their trophic position into megaherbivores, and, more megaomnivores. Other common uses are for giant aquatic species whales, any larger wild or domesticated land animals such as larger antelope and cattle, as well as numerous dinosaurs and other extinct giant reptilians.
The term is sometimes applied to animals of great size relative to a more common or surviving type of the animal, for example the 1 m dragonflies of the Carboniferous period. Megafauna – in the sense of the largest mammals and birds – are K-strategists, with high longevity, slow population growth rates, low mortality rates, few or no natural predators capable of killing adults; these characteristics, although not exclusive to such megafauna, make them vulnerable to human overexploitation, in part because of their slow population recovery rates. One observation, made about the evolution of larger body size is that rapid rates of increase that are seen over short time intervals are not sustainable over much longer time periods. In an examination of mammal body mass changes over time, the maximum increase possible in a given time interval was found to scale with the interval length raised to the 0.25 power. This is thought to reflect the emergence, during a trend of increasing maximum body size, of a series of anatomical, environmental and other constraints that must be overcome by evolutionary innovations before further size increases are possible.
A strikingly faster rate of change was found for large decreases in body mass, such as may be associated with the phenomenon of insular dwarfism. When normalized to generation length, the maximum rate of body mass decrease was found to be over 30 times greater than the maximum rate of body mass increase for a ten-fold change. Subsequent to the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event that eliminated the non-avian dinosaurs about 66 Ma ago, terrestrial mammals underwent a nearly exponential increase in body size as they diversified to occupy the ecological niches left vacant. Starting from just a few kg before the event, maximum size had reached ~50 kg a few million years and ~750 kg by the end of the Paleocene; this trend of increasing body mass appears to level off about 40 Ma ago, suggesting that physiological or ecological constraints had been reached, after an increase in body mass of over three orders of magnitude. However, when considered from the standpoint of rate of size increase per generation, the exponential increase is found to have continued until the appearance of Indricotherium 30 Ma ago.
Megaherbivores attained a body mass of over 10,000 kg. The largest of these and proboscids, have been hindgut fermenters, which are believed to have an advantage over foregut fermenters in terms of being able to accelerate gastrointestinal transit in order to accommodate large food intakes. A similar trend emerges when rates of increase of maximum body mass per generation for different mammalian clades are compared. Among terrestrial mammals, the fastest rates of increase of body mass0.259 vs. time occurred in perissodactyls, followed by rodents and proboscids, all of which are hindgut fermenters. The rate of increase for artiodactyls was about a third that of perissodactyls; the rate for carnivorans was lower yet, while primates constrained by their arboreal habits, had the lowest rate among the mammalian groups studied. Terrestrial mammalian carnivores from several eutherian groups all reached a maximum size of about 1000 kg; the largest known metatherian carnivore, Proborhyaena gigantea reached 600 kg close to this limit.
A similar theoretical maximum size for mammalian carnivores has been predicted based on the metabolic rate of mammals, the energetic cost of obtaining prey, the maximum estimated rate coefficient of prey intake. It has been su
A mammoth is any species of the extinct genus Mammuthus, one of the many genera that make up the order of trunked mammals called proboscideans. The various species of mammoth were equipped with long, curved tusks and, in northern species, a covering of long hair, they lived from the Pliocene epoch into the Holocene at about 4,000 years ago, various species existed in Africa, Europe and North America. They were members of the family Elephantidae, which contains the two genera of modern elephants and their ancestors; the oldest representative of Mammuthus, the South African mammoth, appeared around 5 million years ago during the early Pliocene in what is now southern and eastern Africa. Descendant species of these mammoths moved north and continued to propagate into numerous subsequent species covering most of Eurasia before extending into the Americas at least 600,000 years ago; the last species to emerge, the woolly mammoth, developed about 400,000 years ago in East Asia, with some surviving on Russia's Wrangel Island in the Arctic Ocean until as as 3,700 to 4,000 years ago, still extant during the construction of the Great Pyramid of ancient Egypt.
The earliest known proboscideans, the clade that contains the elephants, existed about 55 million years ago around the Tethys Sea area. The closest relatives of the Proboscidea are the hyraxes; the family Elephantidae is known to have existed six million years ago in Africa, includes the living elephants and the mammoths. Among many now extinct clades, the mastodon is only a distant relative of the mammoths, part of the separate Mammutidae family, which diverged 25 million years before the mammoths evolved; the following cladogram shows the placement of the genus Mammuthus among other proboscideans, based on hyoid characteristics: Since many remains of each species of mammoth are known from several localities, it is possible to reconstruct the evolutionary history of the genus through morphological studies. Mammoth species can be identified from the number of enamel ridges on their molars. At the same time, the crowns of the teeth became longer, the skulls become higher from top to bottom and shorter from the back to the front over time to accommodate this.
The first known members of the genus Mammuthus are the African species Mammuthus subplanifrons from the Pliocene and Mammuthus africanavus from the Pleistocene. The former is thought to be the ancestor of forms. Mammoths entered Europe around 3 million years ago. Only its molars are known -- 10 enamel ridges. A population evolved 12–14 ridges and split off from and replaced the earlier type, becoming M. meridionalis. In turn, this species was replaced by the steppe mammoth, M. trogontherii, with 18–20 ridges, which evolved in East Asia ca. 1 million years ago. Mammoths derived from M. trogontherii evolved molars with 26 ridges 200,000 years ago in Siberia, became the woolly mammoth, M. primigenius. The Columbian mammoth, M. columbi, evolved from a population of M. trogontherii that had entered North America. A 2011 genetic study showed that two examined specimens of the Columbian mammoth were grouped within a subclade of woolly mammoths; this suggests that the two populations produced fertile offspring.
It suggested that a North American form known as "M. jeffersonii" may be a hybrid between the two species. By the late Pleistocene, mammoths in continental Eurasia had undergone a major transformation, including a shortening and heightening of the cranium and mandible, increase in molar hypsodonty index, increase in plate number, thinning of dental enamel. Due to this change in physical appearance, it became customary to group European mammoths separately into distinguishable clusters: Early Pleistocene – Mammuthus meridionalis Middle Pleistocene – Mammuthus trogontherii Late Pleistocene – Mammuthus primigeniusThere is speculation as to what caused this variation within the three chronospecies. Variations in environment, climate change, migration played roles in the evolutionary process of the mammoths. Take M. primigenius for example: Woolly mammoths lived in opened grassland biomes. The cool steppe-tundra of the Northern Hemisphere was the ideal place for mammoths to thrive because of the resources it supplied.
With occasional warmings during the ice age, climate would change the landscape, resources available to the mammoths altered accordingly. The word mammoth was first used in Europe during the early 17th century, when referring to maimanto tusks discovered in Siberia. John Bell, on the Ob River in 1722, said that mammoth tusks were well known in the area, they were called "mammon's horn" and were found in washed-out river banks. Some local people claimed to have seen a living mammoth, but they only came out at night and always disappeared under water when detected, he presented it to Hans Sloan who pronounced it an elephant's tooth. The folklore of some native peoples of Siberia, who would find mammoth bones, sometimes frozen mammoth bodies, in eroding river banks, had various interesting explanations for these finds. Among the Khanty people of the Irtysh River basin, a belief existed that the mammoth was some kind of a water spirit. According to other Khanty, the mammoth was a creature that lived underground, burrowing its tunnels as it went, would die if it accidentally came to the surface.
The concept of the mammoth as an underground creature was known to the Chinese, who received some mammoth ivory from the
Wrangel Island is an island in the Arctic Ocean, between the Chukchi Sea and East Siberian Sea. Wrangel Island lies astride the 180° meridian; the International Date Line is displaced eastwards at this latitude to avoid the island as well as the Chukchi Peninsula on the Russian mainland. The closest land to Wrangel Island is the rocky Herald Island located 60 km to the east; the distance to the closest point on the mainland is 140 km. Wrangel Island may have been the last place on earth. Most of Wrangel Island, Herald Island, is a federally protected nature sanctuary administered by Russia's Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment; the island, its surrounding waters, were classified as a "Zapovednik" in 1976 and, as such, receive the highest level of protection and exclude all human activity other than for scientific purposes. The Chukotka Regional government extended the marine protected area out to 24 nautical miles in 1999; as of 2003, there were four rangers. In addition a core group of about 12 scientists conduct research during the summer months.
Wrangel Island is about 125 km wide and 7,600 km2 in area. It consists of a southern coastal plain, as wide as 15 km; the east-west trending central mountain belt, the Tsentral'nye Mountain Range, is as much as 40 km wide and 145 km long from coast to coast. The mountains are a little over 500 m above mean sea level; the highest mountain on this island is Sovetskaya Mountain with an elevation of 1,096 m above mean sea level. The east-west trending mountain range terminates at sea cliffs at either end of the island. Wrangel Island belongs administratively to the Chukotka Autonomous Okrug of the Russian Federation; this rocky island has a weather station and two Chukchi fishing settlements on the southern side of the island. Wrangel Island consists of folded and metamorphosed volcanic and sedimentary rocks ranging in age from Upper Precambrian to Lower Mesozoic; the Precambrian rocks, which are about 2 km thick, consist of Upper Proterozoic sericite and chlorite slate and schist that contain minor amounts of metavolcanic rocks, metaconglomerates, quartzite.
These rocks are intruded by metamorphosed gabbro and felsic dikes and sills and granite intrusions. Overlying the Precambrian strata are up to 2.25 km of Upper Silurian to Lower Carboniferous consisting of interbedded sandstone, slate, some conglomerate and rare limestone and dolomite. These strata are overlain by up to 2.15 km of Carboniferous to Permian limestone composed of crinoid plates, interbedded with slate and locally minor amounts of thick breccia and chert. The uppermost stratum consists of 0.7 to 1.5 km of Triassic clayish quartzose turbidites interbedded with black slate and siltstone. A thin veneer of Cenozoic gravel, sand and mud underlie the coastal plains of Wrangel Island. Late Neogene clay and gravel, which are only a few tens of meters thick, rest upon the eroded surface of the folded and faulted strata that compose Wrangel Island. Indurated Pliocene mud and gravel, which are only a few meters thick, overlie the Late Neogene sediments. Sandy Pleistocene sediments occur as fluvial sediments along rivers and streams and as a thin and patchy surficial layer of either colluvium or eluvium.
Wrangel Island Coast Wrangel Island is a breeding ground for polar bears, seals and lemmings. During the summer it is visited by many types of birds. Arctic foxes make their home on the island. Cetaceans such as bowhead whales, gray whales, belugas can be seen close to shore. Woolly mammoths survived there until 2500–2000 BC, the most recent survival of all known mammoth populations. Isolated from the mainland for 6000 years, about 500 to 1000 mammoths lived on the island at a time. Domestic reindeer were introduced in the 1950s and their numbers are managed at around 1,000 in order to reduce their impact on nesting bird grounds. In 1975, the musk ox was introduced; the population has grown from 20 to about 200 animals. In 2002, wolves were spotted on the island; the flora includes 417 species of plants, double that of any other Arctic tundra territory of comparable size and more than any other Arctic island. For these reasons, the island was proclaimed the northernmost World Heritage Site in 2004.
Wrangel Island has a severe polar climate. The region is blanketed by cold Arctic air masses for most of the year. Warmer and more humid air can reach the island from the south-east during summer. Dry and heated air from Siberia comes to the island periodically. Wrangel Island is influenced by both the Pacific air masses. One consequence is the predominance of high winds; the island is subjected to "cyclonic" episodes characterized by rapid circular winds. It is an island of mists and fogs. Winters are characterized by steady frosty weather and high northerly winds. During this period the temperatures stay well below freezing for months. In February and March there are frequent snow-storms with wind speeds of 140 above. There are noticeable differences in climate between the northern and southern parts of the island; the central and southern portions are warmer, with some of