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St. Paul Island mammoths most accurately dated 'prehistoric' extinction ever

8/2/2016

While the Minoan culture on Crete was just beginning, woolly mammoths were disappearing from St. Paul Island, Alaska, according to an international team of scientists who have dated this extinction to 5,600 years ago.

"It's amazing that everything turned out so precisely with dating of extinction at 5,600 plus or minus 100 years," said Russell Graham, professor of geosciences, Penn State."

St. Paul Island lies about 400 miles north of the Aleutian Islands and was part of the Bering Land Bridge before sea level rose when the last glacial period ended. Previous researchers radiocarbon-dated remains of five mammoths to about 6,480 years ago, but there was no way to know if these were the last five animals.

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