Thursday, November 25, 2010

A little bit of a famous mammoth

"Smithsonian Snapshot" the other day had two pictures of preserved bits of the Berezovka mammoth. For most of the twentieth century, the Berezovka was the best known of the frozen mammoths and subject of some of the worst myths and misconceptions about mammoths and their demise.

The mammoth was discovered in August 1900 on the banks of the Berezovka River, a tributary of the Kolyma in the far northeastern corner of Siberia. It was just over a year later that Otto Herz and Eugene Pfizenmayer arrived to recover the remains. The Smithsonian published an account of the mammoth written by Pfizenmayer for their 1903 report. In 1922, they acquired these tissue samples, which are muscle from the left rear leg. I'll be writing several posts about him over the next few months.

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