Frozen Fauna of the Mammoth Steppe: The Story of Blue Babe
Frozen mammals of the Ice Age, preserved for millennia in the tundra, have been a source of fascination and mystery since their first discovery over two centuries ago. These mummies, their ecology, and their preservation are the subject of this compelling book by paleontologist Dale Guthrie. The 1979 find of a frozen, extinct steppe bison in an Alaskan gold mine allowed him to undertake the first scientific excavation of an Ice Age mummy in North America and to test theories about these enigmatic frozen fauna.
The 36,000-year-old bison mummy, coated with blue mineral crystals, was dubbed "Blue Babe." Guthrie conveys the excitement of its excavation and shows how he made use of evidence from living animals, other Pleistocene mummies, Paleolithic art, and geological data. With photographs and scores of detailed drawings, he takes the reader through the excavation and subsequent detective work, analyzing the animal's carcass and its surroundings, the circumstances of its death, its appearance in life, the landscape it inhabited, and the processes of preservation by freezing. His examination shows that Blue Babe died in early winter, falling prey to lions that inhabited the Arctic during the Pleistocene era.
Guthrie uses information gleaned from his study of Blue Babe to provide a broad picture of bison evolutionary history and ecology, including speculations on the interactions of bison and Ice Age peoples. His description of the Mammoth Steppe as a cold, dry, grassy plain is based on an entirely new way of reading the fossil record.
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Unearthing Blue Babe
Reconstructing Blue Babes Death
Reconstructing Blue Babes Appearance
Tracking Down Blue Babes Missing Hump
Steppe Bison Ethology
Steppe Bison Ecology and Phylogeny
The Mammoth Steppe
Arguments and Controversies about
Bison Hunting on the Mammoth Steppe
Preparation and Exhibition of Blue Babe
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adapted African buffalo American bison American plains bison animal antler arid Babe's Beringia biomass bison Bison bison mummy Blue Babe body bonasus bones boreal forest bulls buried carcass color cores dates death deposits diet Dima Dima's dorsal Duvanny Yar Eurasia European bison Fairbanks area forelegs fossil frozen mummies full glacial grasses grasslands gravel grazers ground Guthrie habitats hair head herb herbivores herds Holocene horns horse hump interior Alaska interstadial large mammals late Pleistocene legs lions living bison loess males mammals Mammoth Steppe mineral moisture moose mummy Museum neural spines northern nutrients Paleolithic art pattern peat permafrost plains bison plants Pleistocene bison pollen influx predators preserved priscus River scavengers season sedges sediments silt skin skull snow soil species spring steppe bison summer tail teeth temperatures thaw thick thoracic tissue tundra ungulates vegetation Vereshchagin vertebrae winter wood bison woolly mammoth woolly rhino Yukon Territory
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