Ancient fossilized mammoth tracks tell a tragic tale, but reveal a family bond

mammoth footprints

Over centuries, paleontologists have been able to paint a pretty vivid picture of what life was like on Earth before humans arrived, but long-extinct creatures don't actually leave all that much behind. For beasts like mammoths which roamed the land tens of thousands of years ago, bones are often all that we have left, but a recently-discovered fossilized trackway in Oregon is providing researchers with a rare glimpse of how the animals socialized and cared for each other. The footprints, which were uncovered in a dry lake bed, are the subject of a new study which was published in Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology.

The footprints that make up the trackway might look like little more than heavy footsteps to the average person, but researchers have gleaned a surprising amount of information about the animals that made them. More specifically, the pattern and weight of each step hints that one of the larger animals in the group may have been severely injured and was being helped along by others.

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Ancient fossilized mammoth tracks tell a tragic tale, but reveal a family bond originally appeared on on Tue, 13 Feb 2018 at 12:33:01 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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