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17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
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ScienceShot: Mini Mammoth Is World's Tiniest
8 May 2012 7:01 pm
Island living can be a tricky thing. Over time, the isolated environment tends to miniaturize large mammal species and grow small species into giants. That's what scientists thought happened to a tiny elephant, whose roughly 800,000-year-old fossils were found on Crete a century ago. Researchers thought the creature, about 1 meter tall at the shoulder (right, for scale), descended from ancient, mainland European elephants that came to the Greek island and shrank over time. But a new analysis reveals that the animal wasn't an elephant at all: It was a mammoth. Surface enamel patterns on its molars (left, light-colored tooth) and the ratio of its tooth height to width more closely resemble those of mainland mammoths rather than elephants, the team reports online today in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. The finding lends credence to a 2006 DNA study that argued that the Cretan dwarf was a mammoth, and it could push the animal's evolution back almost 3 million years. It also means that the creature-dubbed Mammuthus creticus-is the world's smallest mammoth species.
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