Navigation Links
Ice age's arctic tundra lush with wildflowers for woolly mammoths, study finds
Date:2/7/2014

MANHATTAN, Kan. -- A recent study in the journal Nature finds that nearly 50,000 years ago during the ice age, the landscape was not as drab as once thought -- it was filled with colorful wildflowers. These wildflowers helped sustain woolly mammoths and other giant grazing animals.

The study, "Fifty thousand years of Arctic vegetation and megafauna diet," included Joseph Craine, assistant professor in the Division of Biology at Kansas State University. It was led by the Centre for GeoGenetics at the University of Copenhagen and was a collaboration of more than 25 academic institutions and research laboratories from around the world.

The study looked at 50,000 years of arctic vegetation history to understand how fauna had changed with animals and humans.

Historically, the belief is that the ice age's landscape was covered by largely grass-dominated systems -- called steppe. These grasses were replaced by mosses and other boggy vegetation when the ice age ended nearly 10,000 years ago, Craine said.

For the study, researchers visited museums in Alaska, Canada, Norway and Russia to collect DNA samples from inside the gut of frozen mammoths, bison, horses and rhinoceros that lived in the ice age.

Molecular techniques were used to look for plant DNA in each ancient animal's digestive tract. Plant DNA was then sequenced and reconstructed to differentiate wildflowers from grasses.

"Once the gut contents and soils started getting sequenced, they began finding lots more wildflowers than before," Craine said. "Nearly half of the digested plants were wildflowers. So, rather than having this really grassy, dull system like we believe existed, it suddenly was one that was very colorful."

The study challenges the view that the arctic landscape in the ice age was largely grasslands.

"Part of the scientific debate is knowing what the past looked like," Craine said. "There have always been debates about how a region that's so cold could have supported animals that were so large. Mammoths were huge and lived on these largely barren landscapes. Now we know that they were spending a lot of time eating wildflowers, which have a lot more protein in them than grasses, which means that they could support larger animals."

Craine helped interpret data and the consequences of losing bison and other grazing animals over thousands of years in parts of the world.

Although the findings reframe 50,000 years of the past, they also are applicable to predicting the future, Craine said.

Animals' grazing and climate changes stressed and eventually reshaped the vegetation in the tundra from wildflowers and grasses to moss and marshes, he said.

"The work is important because we can use the past to help us predict the future," Craine said. "But the work really makes us reevaluate how well we understand the diets of modern animals. If we misunderstood what bison and mammoths ate 15,000 years ago, maybe we should look more closely at what bison and elephants eat today. We just might find new surprises."


'/>"/>
Contact: Joseph Craine
jcraine@k-state.edu
785-532-3062
Kansas State University
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Heartwood Home Health & Hospice Announced for the 2013 HealthInsight Quality Award HealthInsight Program Encourages Excellence in Patient Care
2. Health First Strongly Encourages Community to Get Flu Vaccination: Virus Proves Deadly in Brevard County, Florida
3. “Benefits of Aloe Vera,” A New Article On Vkool.com Illustrates the Advantages of Aloe Vera - V-kool
4. Online Insurance Marketplace Presents 5 Advantages of Having 30 Year Term Life Insurance!
5. Passages Malibu Welcomes 2014 With Tips for Starting Fresh
6. Life Insurance No Medical Exam Plans Have Three Important Advantages For Seniors
7. Healthentic Encourages Philanthropy, Helps Neighbors by Donating to United Gospel Mission
8. India Network International Visitor Health Insurance Announces Higher Pre-existing Coverage Limits for Visitors of All Ages
9. “Raw Food Benefits,” A New Article On Healthreviewcenter.com, Gives People Advantages of Raw Food - V-kool
10. Body For The Ages Nonprofit Discusses Anaerobic vs. Aerobic Exercise at Their Newly Launched Website
11. Dogs recognize familiar faces from images
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/4/2016)... ... May 04, 2016 , ... ... Nurses (WOCN) Society™ and Canadian Association for Enterostomal Therapy (CAET) will be ... saving and planning tools to attendees and exhibitors for the 2016 WOCN Society ...
(Date:5/4/2016)... ... 2016 , ... All-Star Insurance of Northeast TX has announced ... their local community. The agency pledges to select a new beneficiary every 60 ... bring awareness to important local causes with fundraising and other support, by forming ...
(Date:5/4/2016)... ... May 04, 2016 , ... Slepkow Slepkow & ... one of the top website design companies to create a state of the ... to the law firm's main practice areas. These practice areas include: real estate, ...
(Date:5/4/2016)... , ... May 04, 2016 , ... ... foundational nutrients that supports cellular and metabolic health. This synergistic combination of omega-3 ... free-form curcumin, along with 150 mg of reduced glutathione and 200 mg of ...
(Date:5/4/2016)... ... ... Natalie Jill is a well respected lifestyle mentor and fitness ... of her new book: Natalie Jill’s 7 Day Jump Start: Unprocess Your Diet . ... a new healthy lifestyle featuring simple recipes using MitoXcell’s raw cacao formula. , ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:5/2/2016)... Leading Economies with Fastest Real GDP Annual Percentage Change, 2015  ... India 7.3, , Source: IMF and TechSci Research   ... Brazil , Russia , India ... registered the fastest GDP growth during the first decade of the 21 st ... Brazil and Russia , along with ...
(Date:5/2/2016)... 2016  Celsion Corporation (NASDAQ: CLSN ), ... from the first cohort of patients in its ... Study) combining GEN-1, the Company,s DNA-based immunotherapy, with ... newly-diagnosed patients with advanced ovarian cancer who will ... In the first three patients dosed, GEN-1 plus ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... India , April 29, 2016 ... Pipeline Review, H1 2016" market research report that ... complete with comparative analysis at various stages, therapeutics ... route of administration (RoA) and molecule type, along ... releases. It also reviews key players involved in ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: