As Woolly Mammoths trekked across Alaska thousands of years ago, hunter-gatherers followed their every step. New research on the journey of a 14,000-year-old mammoth named Élmayųujey’eh — Elma, for short — has further illustrated the travels of beast and human alike throughout this prehistoric expanse.
Researchers at the Alaska Stable Isotope Facility learned of Elma’s odyssey by analyzing isotopes from her tusk, which was first identified in 2009 at the Swan Point archaeological site in Interior Alaska. Her life and its connection to human activity have been described in a recent paper published in Science Advances.
How do we Know the Mammoths' Migration Patterns?
Elma’s tusk, according to a press release, worked remarkably well as a gateway into her past. This is because tusks grow as the species ages; when a tusk is split lengthwise, researchers see visible layers that distinguish different slices in the chronology of a mammoth’s life.