Consequently, the mammoths that lived there had to
evolve much more quickly. The problem was working out how they
interacted with the European mammoths. To answer that question, Dr
Sher, and Dr Adrian Lister of University College, London, UK, looked
at fossil samples from various sites in European Russia, Europe, and
They came to the conclusion that during two critical
periods in the evolution of mammoths, Siberian mammoths migrated south
and encountered their European relatives.
Clash of the giants
Evidence from a site in what is now West Runton in
Norfolk, England, shows that steppe mammoths from Siberia encountered
ancestral mammoths in England about one million years ago. Mammoth
teeth found at a second site, in the village of Marsworth in
Buckinghamshire, pointed to a second clash of the giants, later in
This took place about 190,000 years ago, between
woolly mammoths from Siberia and the steppe mammoths of Europe. Dr
Lister believed that the newcomers probably replaced the older mammoth
populations. The older ones were dying out because the changed habitat
wasn't to their liking, whereas the newcomers were adapted to the
colder climate and to more open, treeless vegetation.
But Dr Lister believes there was probably limited
interbreeding between the different mammoths, and even some squabbles.
He concluded that closely-related species like that wouldn't normally
fight, But it's possible that they could have fought over patches of