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Woolly Mammoth Died Out Because Of DNA Errors
The last woolly mammoths to walk the Earth were afflicted with serious genetic disease (CCSS Level: Grade 9, Words: 242)
Mar 7, 2017 History
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By the time the last woolly mammoths died out, around 4,000 years ago, they may have been shadows of their former, majestic selves, but recently a scientific team's genetic analysis suggested the final mammoths suffered from crippling mutations, lost their sense of smell, shunned company, and had a strange shiny coat.

The scientists have analysed ancient DNA of the extinct animals found in Siberia, along with one 45,000-year-old specimen from the mainland, when populations were much larger, for comparison. The other mammoth studied studied was a 4,300-year-old specimen from Wrangel Island. The mutations found suggest that the last mammoths died out after their DNA became riddled with errors.

Dr Rebekah Rogers from the University of California, Berkeley, who led the research, said the mammoth's genomes "were falling apart right before they went extinct."

Woolly mammoths were once common in North America, Beringia and Siberia. They were driven to extinction by environmental factors and possibly human hunting about 10,000 years ago. However small island populations clung on until about 4,000 years ago.

"There was this huge excess of what looked like bad mutations in the genome of the mammoth from this island," said Dr Rogers.

"We found these bad mutations were accumulating in the mammoth genome right before they were extinct." The research may help scientists looking to preserve animals with very small populations that are in danger of disappearing.

The research is published in the journal, PLOS Genetics.

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aid

help


n,v.援助

an-cient

very old


adj.古老

com-par-i-son

the act or instance of comparing


n.对照

dan-ger

something likely to cause harm or injury


n.危险

dis-ap-pear-ing 

vanishing, no longer seen


v.消失

en-vi-ron-ment

place where something lives


n.环境

en-vi-ron-men-tal

to do with the natural world


adj.环境

ex-tinc-tion

the process of an animal becoming extinct or disappearing


n.灭绝

fal-ling

dropping, going down


v.落下

ge-ne-tics

the science of heredity


n.基因

lar-ger

bigger


adj.较大

main-land

the main part of the land, not an island


n.大陆

ma-jes-tic

like a king or queen, high and powerful


adj.雄伟/声望

men-tal

to do with the mind


adj.心理

pop-u-la-tion

the people who live in a particular place


n.人口

pop-u-la-tions

the numbers of people living in a place


n.人群

pub-lished

to put out a book for sale


v.发表

re-cent

not long ago


adj.最近    

re-cent-ly

not long ago


adv.最近

re-search

looking for knowledge


v.调研

sap

the fluid that flows in a plant or tree  


n.树液

sci-en-ti-fic

based on the methods and principles of science


adv.科学

sci-en-tists

experts in science, people who study science


n.科学家

spec-i-men

example of its species or type for scientific study or display


n.标本

strange

not usual, hard to understand


adj.奇怪/陌生

suf-fered

experienced something bad


v.受苦