Pakistan scientists 'find 1.1 million year-old stegodon tusk'

A 1.1 million-year-old stegodon tusk was discovered at Padri village in Jhelum district, Pakistan's central province of Punjab,
A 1.1 million-year-old stegodon tusk was discovered at Padri village in Jhelum district, Pakistan's central province of Punjab, potentially shedding new light on the mammal's evolutionary journey

A team of Pakistani researchers claims to have unearthed a 1.1 million-year-old stegodon tusk in the central province of Punjab, potentially shedding new light on the mammal's evolutionary journey.

Stegodonts, distant cousins of modern elephants, are thought to have been present on earth from around 11 million years ago until the late Pleistocene period, which lasted until the end of the last Ice Age around 11,700 years ago.

The tusk measures some eight feet (2.44 metres) in length and is around eight inches (20.3 cm) in diameter, making it the the largest ever discovered in the country, according to the team.

It was found by researchers from the zoology department of the University of Punjab during an expedition in the Padri village of Jhelum district, said Khurram Shahzad, a spokesman for the university.

Professor Muhammad Akhtar, who led the research trip, told AFP: "This discovery adds to our knowledge about the evolution of the stegodon, particularly in this region.

"It also sheds light on what the environment was like at the time of the animal's life."

Dr Gerrit Van Den Bergh, a paleontologist at the University of Wollongong in Australia who has done extensive research on the ancient mammals including in Pakistan, said: "If you have a complete tusk, that's quite special—they are quite rare."

He cautioned however that further verification, including of the dating, would be required.

Akhtar said the fossil belonged to the late Pleistocene period and its age was determined using a uranium-lead radioactive dating technique.

Stegodonts were known for their long, nearly straight and low-crowned teeth with peaked ridges.

Stegodonts were known for their long, nearly straight tusks and low-crowned teeth with peaked ridges
Stegodonts were known for their long, nearly straight tusks and low-crowned teeth with peaked ridges

This indicated they were browsers or mixed feeders in a forested environment, in contrast to the high-crowned plated molars of mammoths and elephants which allowed them to graze.

They were strong swimmers and are thought to have originated in Africa but to have quickly spread to Asia, where most remains have been found.

"Around 1.2 million years ago they were still thriving," said Van Den Bergh. "They are mostly an Asian species but remains have been found further afield. Recently a molar fragment was discovered in Greece."

He added that the species' extinction coincided with the emergence of modern humans, though it was difficult to say with certainty that men hunted stegodonts.


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Feb 16, 2016
Re: "He added that the species' extinction coincided with the emergence of modern humans, though it was difficult to say with certainty that men hunted stegodonts."

The same has been said of the mammoths even though there were multiple animals that went extinct across a number of continents, and even though the Firestone group has discovered 7 instances of mammoth tusks that are peppered with meteorite fragments.

If something feels a bit strange about the fact that the researchers continue to make this claim that humans are responsible, long after people have already accepted it, your gut instinct is right. There is a lengthy history of unethical research behavior in the archaeological discipline, and although researchers would have us believe that that's all behind us, the mammoth tusks with meteorites in them do not lie.

Feb 16, 2016
Why would a human hunt a mammoth and not a stegodont?

If something feels a bit strange about the fact that the researchers continue to make this claim that humans are responsible, long after people have already accepted it, your gut instinct is right.


Wrong. Ever study any quantum mechanics? Some of these cranks are impressive in their ability to spew utter tosh constantly without ever, accidentally, saying anything even slightly interesting, accurate, or worthwhile. Rather than spew here, how about you call your mother and give her the bad news that she didn't give birth to a viable human?

Feb 16, 2016
Humans basically hunted everything to death. Why? Because we didn't have agriculture and we needed a constant food source. Millions of years our ancestors have been around, but even vaguely modern farming practices are only 100,000+ years old at best. Nuts, Roots, flowers, berries, fish, and BIG ASS ANIMALS were the diet of the day. Not to mention the uses for leather and sinew and bone that they got out of them. Climate change and loss of habitat and food sources played a huge role, but being hunted where previously nothing was large enough to hurt them was the final nail in most cases archaeologists have studied. Mega-fauna died out either directly because of humans, or were aided on their way by direct hunting my humans.

Feb 16, 2016
"Humans basically hunted everything to death...(W)e didn't have agriculture..." How much have you spent on that Ph.D. so far?

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