The last of the woolly mammoths lived their remaining days on Wrangel Island, an isolated island which is located in the Arctic Ocean, northern Russia. The location has been known for several years, but researchers have uncovered more information about the impressive creatures.
The species, which is classified under the name of Mammuthus primigenius, went extinct almost 4,000 years ago in a short timeframe. By analyzing the DNA contained in their teeth and bones the researchers aimed to learn more data about their demise.
Over 11,700 years ago, the end of the last ice age signaled the beginning of the end for the wholly mammoth. A combination of warmer climate and the enhanced capabilities of human hunters led to a decrease in the number of individuals. In less than two millennia disappeared from their main habitats in North America and Eurasia.
In 2004 a team of researchers found fossil remains on St. Paul Island which is located in Bering Sea. At that point in time the data inferred that the woolly mammoths survived on the island over 5,700 years ago. However, it seems that they were able to survive for a longer time on Wrangel Island, according to data recorded in 1995.
Researchers used isotope analysis to recover more data from a large number of mammoth teeth and bones that were recovered from across the world and collected new data. Some stable isotopes which are found in the soil are absorbed by plants, which are then consumed by other animals and humans. They will replace the calcium that is found in teeth and bones.
By observing the isotopes of carbon, sulfur, strontium, and nitrogen, researchers will be able to learn more about the changes in the environment and way in which they could have influenced the life the mammoths.
More data can be found in a study that was published in a scientific journal.