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23 Jun, 2007 07:30

Russian 'Mammoth City' gathers researchers

Hundreds of scientists, researchers and palaeontologists have gathered in the Russian Republic of Yakutia for a conference devoted to extinct mammoths.

The influence of climate change on Earth can be explored by examining the remains of the pre-historic animals from around the globe.

“They can tell us about evolution, they can tell us about climate change, and they can tell us why they became extinct,” said Professor Adrian Lister from London University College.

The mammoth is a pre-historic species of the Elephantidae family, which existed on all continents except Australia and South America.

Today, a large amount of their bones and frozen remains have been found in the Russian region of Siberia which has led to many specialists calling the city of Yakutsk 'Mammoth City'.

“Almost all the territory of Yakutia is in the zone of eternal frost, which is more than 1 million years old. And these frozen expanses, which are hundreds of meters deep, serve as a natural fridge or reservoir where the remains of the ancient flora and fauna are stored. Among them there are many mammoths' remains of the second half of the Ice Age,” noted Gennady Boeskorov from Museum of Mammoth.

The museum in Yakutsk is so far the only one of its kind, dedicated solely to mammoths.

Although relatively small, it tells an incredibly detailed story – where the mammoths lived and what they ate judging by their dental records.

But while these ancient animals help scientists and palaeontologists to get an insight into the past, they also provide craftsmen and merchants with future.

Some say the popularity of the mammoth-connected souvenirs could be a cause for concern, but with official backing most treat the carvings as a creative skill as well as creating jobs – and a way to preserve the elephant population.