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"Mammoth herds 'roamed fertile Bering Strait in Ice Age'"
Mammoth herds 'roamed fertile Bering Strait in Ice Age
trefwoorden: Mammoeten - Bering Straat - ijstijd
Huge herds of mammoth, wild horses and bison once roamed the land bridge between North America and Siberia, new evidence suggests.
Plant fossils have shown that 24,000 years ago, during the last Ice Age, dry grassland covered much of region.
The vegetation would have allowed large populations of mammals to survive all year round on the now-submerged landmass known as Beringia or the Bering Strait.
Scientists writing in the journal Nature said the animals would have been sustained by a diet rich in prairie sage, bunch grasses, and other grass-like plants.
Grant Zazula, from Simon Fraser University, British Columbia, and colleagues analysed plant fossils from three sites in Canada's frozen Yukon territory.
During the Ice Age, the area would have had vegetation similar to that in eastern Beringia.
The scientists concluded that the region would have borne a grass-dominated ecosystem known as "mammoth steppe".
They wrote: "This vegetation was unlike that found in modern Arctic tundra, which can sustain relatively few mammals, but was instead a productive ecosystem of dry grassland that resembled extant (present) subarctic steppe communities."
bron: Ananova, 4 juni 2003