But let's skip all that or I'm going to start rambling over my morning coffee and this post is going to be a novel.
In this particular movie, one of the many parts of this movie that bugs me is when the main character mentions the Woolly Mammoth found perfectly preserved with buttercups still in it's mouth.
Without a long disgusted ranting and raving I'll just say: NO IT WAS NOT.
But this morning I had my cup of coffee, I had checked emails and decided to do some quick searches as to how much of this data was true. 3 hours later I had pages of notes filling my notebook (yes, I can't help it - I'm a geek. I research all sorts of topics every day and I just have to take notes - filling notebooks in my office with pages and pages of information, sources, books, papers, documentary notes....)
I love to look at both sides of topics - and actually it's more often 3 or 4 or 10 sides of a topic. EVERYONE has an opinion and with todays internet making so easy to voice your opinion, everyone is an expert. (Can you 'hear' me rolling my eyes?)
I really liked the information one woman succinctly laid out - and I took many handwritten notes to follow up on with some books mentioned and credible sources to continue studying if I find the time. I decided to post it here - with the source linked.
I also am putting one more article below it as he had a very short blog post himself but again - some great information needs to be repeated to off-set the FALSE INFORMATION that is being regurgitated by people, movies, articles - that is so completely skewed from the original true data.
AND I am indeed getting long winded. Blame it on too many cups of double strong, hot coffee this morning.
It's just the coffee talking again..........
Woolly Mammoths Remains: Catastrophic Origins?
Preservation of the mammoth remains was somewhat different than has been imagined by the uninformed. The mammoths were 'mummified', a process that is quite easily done in a cold environment. Guthrie compares it to the process that packaged meat undergoes in a freezer.
The following is from Frozen Fauna of the Mammoth Steppe by Guthrie:
"The word mummy has long been used to describe carcasses preserved in northern permafrost. Some have objected to this usage on the basis that preservation by freezing is unlike 'real' mummification of an embalmed or dried corpse. However, frozen carcasses, like Dima and Blue Babe, (two well preserved carcasses described in his book, Dima is a baby mammoth, Blue Babe is a bison) are indeed desiccated and fully deserve to be called mummies." (Guthrie 1990)
"Underground frost mummification should not be confused with freeze-drying, which occurs when a body is frozen and moisture is removed by sublimation, a process accelerated by a partial vacuum. ... I have often freeze-dried items, sometimes inadvertently, during our long Alaskan winters, where the temperature seldom rises above freezing for eight months of the year." (Guthrie 1990)
"However, the desiccation of fossil mummies is quite different than freeze-drying. Moisture contained in a buried carcass is not released to the atmosphere but is crystallized in place, in ice lenses around the mummy. This process is more comparable to tightly wrapped food left too long in a freezer. When a stew is first frozen, it swells to a somewhat larger size, bulging the sealed plastic container. The longer it stays in the freezer, month after month, the more the moisture begins to separate, forming ice crystals inside the container. The stew itself shrinks and desiccates. Year follows year, and the stew becomes more and more desiccated, as ice segregates from it. Eventually, the stew has become a shriveled, dehydrated block; unlike freeze-drying in which the object theoretically retains its original form, the stew is shrunken in size and surrounded by a network of clear ice crystals. Soft tissue becomes mummified and shrunken down, looking like a desiccated mummy dried in the sun. These two processes of cold mummification and freeze-drying were not distinctly understood by people unfamiliar with long winters and the back corners of deep freezers." (Guthrie 1990)The picture in the Sutcliffe book shows the front leg of the Berezovka mammoth. The muscles are dried straps over the bones, quite as Guthrie describes, looking very mummified.
As for instant freezing, as claimed by Ted Holden, there is no evidence of that. The Berezovka mammoth shows evidence of having been buried in a landslide, the cold mud acting as preservative and the underlying permafrost completing the process by freezing the carcass.
E. W. Pfizenmayer was one of the scientists who actually recovered and studied the Berezovka mammoth. I was able to obtain his book, Siberian Man and Mammoth through interlibrary loan. It's quite interesting, the mammoth story is only a part of his book, he also commented at length on people who were living in Siberia at the time of the scientists' journey to get to the site of the mammoth.
Pfizenmayer says about the mammoth:
"Baron E. von Toll, the well-known geological explore of Arctic Siberia, who perished while leading the Russian expedition in 1903, had covered in 1890 most of the sites of previous finds of mammoth and rhinoceros bodies in carrying out his professional investigations. In doing so he had established that the mammoth found by Adams in 1799 buried at the mouth of the Lena in a crevice of a cliff from 200 to 260 feet high, and sent by him to St. Petersberg, had been frozen in a bank of diluvial ice on the slope of the river. This ice bank was not (as Adams believed and stated in his description of the site of the find) the remains of the old drift-ice whose crevices had been filled with mud. The fissures in the bank of diluvial ice on the Lena, which was far bigger than ours, had, according to Toll's findings, gradually filled with earth from the top downwards, and its upper surface covered with alluvial soil to such an extent that a fair number of the tundra plants were able to take root on it.
"Toll concluded that this particular Siberian ice was in no case recent, but was the remains of diluvial inland ice, which once covered the whole world, and then was gradually overlaid with earth, surviving to this day in the Arctic regions in ice-banks of varying extent.
"Our investigations confirmed his opinion. They proved that the animal had been preserved in the same way as Adams's mammoth, according to Toll, had been. In both cases the bodies had been enbedded in fissures of the diluvial inland ice. Then when the temperature fell the mud disappeared and the ice in which they were fast frozen had kept them, complete with their soft parts, in a state a preservation through the ages.
"Before I arrived at the site, Herz had partially dug away the hill of earth round the body, and so both the forefeet and the hind feet were exposed. These lay under the body so that it rested on them. When one looked at the body one had the impression that it must have suddenly fallen into an unexpected fissure in the ice, which it probably came across in its wanderings, and which may have been covered with a layer of plant-bearing mould. After its fall the unlucky animal must have tried to get out of its hopeless position, for the right forefoot was doubled up and the left stretched forward as if it had struggled to rise. But its strength had apparently not been up to it, for when we dug it out still farther we found that in its fall it had not only broken several bones, but had been almost completely buried by the falls of earth which tumbled in on it, so that it had suffocated.
"Its death must have occurred very quickly after its fall, for we found half-chewed food still in its mouth, between the back teeth and on its tongue, which was in good preservation. The food consisted of leaves and grasses, some of the later carrying seeds. We could tell from these that the mammoth must have come to its miserable end in the autumn."Also:
"Lapparent attributes the extinction of the mammoth to a gradual increase in cold and a decrease in the supply of food, rather than to a cataclysmic flood." (Guthrie 1990)
I am still doing research on Mammoth diet and climate at the time of the burial of the Berezovka mammoth. Types of data being studied, stomach and mouth contents of the said mammoth, stomach contents of other mammoths found. Lake bottom sediment cores, showing pollen and vegetation over the last 10,000 years. Comments by Guthrie on how the climatic changes of the ice age affected the ratio of edible vegetation from then to present. Estimation of snow depths on the Mammoth Slope are also being covered and have a large bearing on extinction of the mammoth and other large Ice Age mammals.
"...Quackenbush (1909) concluded that the partial mammoth mummy from Eschscholtz Bay, Alaska, was so deteriorated as to exclude 'sudden fall in temperature" theories...'" (Guthrie 1990)
NOTE: The Beresovka mammoth is the one that Ted kept claiming was 'instantly frozen' by catastrophe. This is totally untrue, according to the scientists who did the actual research in 1900.
ReferencesSutcliffe, Anthony J., On the Track of the Ice Age Mammals, Harvard University Press, 1985.
Guthrie, R. Dale. Frozen Fauna of the Mammoth Steppe, 1990, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, Ill.
Pfizenmayer, E. W., Siberian Man and Mammoth, 1939. Blackie and Son, London
Flash-Frozen Mammoths and Their Buttercups: Yet Another Case of Repetition and Recycling of Bad Data
".......... that the mammoth had been frozen so quickly that its last meal of buttercups were still freshly in bloom in its mouth. “Upon the [tongue] and between the teeth, were portions of the animal’s last meal, which for some incomprehensible reason it had not had time to swallow.” This one fact gave rise to a 56 years of speculation about “instant” freezing of the mammoths in some catastrophist disaster. The scientist who studied the mammoth in situ, Dr. Otto Herz, had written that “more [food] is found on the tongue and between the teeth,” and he assumed that the mammoth died while he was eating, tumbling off a cliff or down a slope to his death. He wrote that the mammoth was not flash-frozen, but rather likely died in a mud pit that froze over shortly after the animal’s death and became buried under layers of dirt. The decrepit state of the flesh reported by the explorers is more than enough to refute Sanderson’s misimpression that the mammoth was fresh enough to eat.
It’s interesting that the report of finding the remains of buttercups in the mammoth’s stomach gradually morphed under catastrophist and creationist influence into something it was never intended to be. Modern writers routinely claim that the mammoth died instantly with “buttercups in its mouth,” or some variation thereof. Herz had reported that there was the remains of food in the animal’s mouth, and later on, in 1905, this was more specifically detailed by A. V. Borodin, who did not find flash-frozen salad but rather reported that bits of food were stuck between the animal’s teeth. By 1912, there was already the beginning of a suggestion of flash-freezing, which the scientist J. P. Felix gave in his Das Mammuth von Borna: “On uncovering the skull a portion of the animal’s food was found in the form of a wad lying between the upper and lower teeth. Its death, therefore, must have been so sudden that it did not have time to swallow this food” (trans. Henry Fairfield Osborn). Felix didn’t mean that the mammoth had frozen at the moment of death, but it was easy enough to read it that way. The stomach contents, according to an English-language account published in 1925, included several species of grass, sedges, mint, legume pods, wild poppies, and “seeds of the northern butter daisy (Ranunculus).” Somehow the butter daisy seeds morphed into flash-frozen buttercups still in bloom! This appears to be due to some phrasing in a report written by E. V. Pfizenmayer in August 1939 called “Les mammouths de Siberie,” which I have not read but which is cited frequently as the source for the buttercup claim. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, what was actually found was pollen from the buttercups, both between the teeth and in the stomach.
For those who care, Felix said that the exact species was Ranunculus acer L. var. borealis, the common buttercup.
Thus, V. Paul Flint, the creationist, wrote in 1988: “Little flowering buttercups, tender sedges and grasses exclusively were found in the stomach of the Beresovka mammoth.” One creationist ventured that the mammoth froze in half an hour or less on the basis of this evidence. Such claims drew on a dispute in the Russian literature of the early 1900s in which different groups of scientists argued about the season of the mammoth’s death, with some arguing for July due to immature pollen and others for fall based on mature vegetables.
Sanderson claimed that the stomach contents froze so rapidly that decomposition did not occur, indicating temperatures dropping from 60 above to 150 below zero Fahrenheit or colder instantly, due, he thought, to volcanic activity. However, he had misunderstood the scientific literature and mistook the list of grasses and plants for the leaves of these. The scientists identified the plants by their seeds, which were preserved, not their leaves, which had decayed into an unidentifiable mass.
But I was terribly disappointed to find that the claim that Fairbanks, Alaska, had mammoth steaks on restaurant menus did not appear in Sanderson’s article. Donald Patten’s only citation on the page of Biblical Flood and the Ice Epoch (1966) where the claim appears pointed to Sanderson’s article, so I had expected to find it there. Did Patten just make the claim up? I think he probably was repeating secondhand testimony of something misunderstood. Fairbanks, Alaska, was indeed involved with mammoth flesh about two decades before Patten wrote, when excavators uncovered several specimens of mammoth on which the flesh still clung between the 1930s and 1950s. The most famous of these was the mummified mammoth Otto Geist found in 1948. This activity created great interest at the time, and in July 1944 Harper’s magazine carried a report by Frank C. Hibben that evoked the stench of “thousands of tons of rotting mammoth meat” newly thawed and the desire of those who encountered it to taste the black and rotting flesh: “Nothing would do but that we taste a piece of almost black, frozen mammoth meat.” This may be the origin of Patten’s claim, or else restaurants celebrated the local mammoths with meals named for them....."