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Ice age's arctic tundra lush with wildflowers for woolly mammoths, study finds
Date:2/7/2014

bout how a region that's so cold could have supported animals that were so large. Mammoths were huge and lived on these largely barren landscapes. Now we know that they were spending a lot of time eating wildflowers, which have a lot more protein in them than grasses, which means that they could support larger animals."

Craine helped interpret data and the consequences of losing bison and other grazing animals over thousands of years in parts of the world.

Although the findings reframe 50,000 years of the past, they also are applicable to predicting the future, Craine said.

Animals' grazing and climate changes stressed and eventually reshaped the vegetation in the tundra from wildflowers and grasses to moss and marshes, he said.

"The work is important because we can use the past to help us predict the future," Craine said. "But the work really makes us reevaluate how well we understand the diets of modern animals. If we misunderstood what bison and mammoths ate 15,000 years ago, maybe we should look more closely at what bison and elephants eat today. We just might find new surprises."


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Contact: Joseph Craine
jcraine@k-state.edu
785-532-3062
Kansas State University
Source:Eurekalert

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