CORRECTION: WHO STOLE MY WOOLY MAMMOTH TOOTH? (Apologies to those falsely accused)


alan skeoch
Dec.  2018

Big Mistake…my lost tooth came from a  Woolly Mammoth…not a Mastodont.  Apologies  to all including the Royal Ontario Museum

The molars of Woolly Mammoths  are ‘layered’…as was the tooth  given to me by the placer gold  miner in 1960

That ‘mastodont tooth at the Royal  Ontario Museum was too dissimilar from the tooth given to me by the gold miner in
Dublin Gulch.   My tooth had layers of tooth stuff (wrong word)…sort of like a sandwich…a big thick sandwich.    The mastodont (or mastodon) 
tooth was solid  much like my own molars.  

My tooth belonged to a Mammoth as opposed to a Mastodon?   The two creatures  
are often confused  because they lived about the same time and both became extinct in the last ice age.  With one exception, s herd
of small hairy mammoths survived the ice age living on Wrangel Island  until about 4,000 years ago when they were likely killed  by human

So I searched for a picture of a  hairy mammoth tooth and, Presto, it matched my memory of my ancient tooth exactly.  

Woolly mammoth molar..ridged 

Not only does the tooth match but the movement matches.  Mastodons  were found  in North and Central  America from 30 million years  ago until
about 12,000 years  ago when they disappeared along with most Hairy Mammoths.  Scientists have mixed  opinions about the causes of their 
extinction but most scientists believe we human beings had a lot to do with it.

 Mammoths evolved in Africa 5.1 million years  ago and  moved  through Asia eventually to North America.  The woolly or hairy mammoth from which
my tooth came evolved 250.000 years ago.  Change is slow but happens  constantly.

A lot of people get the two confused.   So I am not alone.  They look alike.  One of the key differences is the teeth.  A mastodon tooth has cone shaped
cusps which  facilitate the crushing of leave and wooden branches.  The Woolly mammoth on the oher hand  had ridged  molars more suited to grazing
on grasses.   

Both mastodons and mammoths had long curved tusks used to scrape snow and ice  away from vegetation.

The Woolly Mammoth with the fat layer behind the neck and the layered to tooth (right)

Woolly mammoths also had  an extra hump on their backs to store fat for the biter northern winters.

The Mastodon…best distinguished from a  Woolly Mammoth by the absence
of a pillow  of fat behind the neck.  

Mastodont (mastodon) teeth had cone  shaped  cusps for eating branches.

 We know  a lot more  about the Woolly Mammoth because we have discovered so many pieces of them.  In Siberia whole carcasses

of Woolly Mammoths  have been found when slabs of ancient ice melt…flesh, hair, skin. bones and teeth.  And more will  be found now the
earth is warming so  fast. So much has been found that a few scientists have considered using mammoth genes to recreate the animals with
Asian  elephants as the hosts.   Imagine that.   The idea is not quite as preposterous as it sounds.  Mixing Mammoth genes  from frozen carcasses  with
Asian elephants would  increase their tolerance to the cold…allow them to trample the tundra and make room for the grasses that once
flourished there.  The grasses would feed a  whole raft of animals.  And impede the melting of permanence frost thereby stopping the
release of immense quantities of carbon into our polluted  atmosphere.  Wait a minute…this gets  just too fantastic.  I cannot grasp it so I better STOP!
Pushing an idea so far that it becomes  science fiction.  But tinkering goes on and  on.

Guess  what?  Now I  know who has my Woolly Mammoth tooth.  Must be these gene manipulators.  A Parkdale student must be among them.  With
a little more tracking I may find the culprit.  Student?  No, it could be a teacher.

alan skeoch
dec. 9, 2018

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