Hunting Mammoths in Siberia

Gradual melting of the Siberian permafrost has changed mammoth carcass recoveries from occasional incidents to a full-time industry.  The Los Angeles Times reports that hundreds of tons of bones are now being discovered every year.
They are shaped into picture frames, chess sets, pendants. They are gathered and piled, carved and whittled, bought and sold on the Internet.

The once-obscure scientists who specialize in the wastelands of Siberia have opened lucrative sidelines as bone hunters, spending the summer months trawling the northern river banks and working networks of locals to gather stockpiles of bones...

Now entire villages are surviving on the trade in mammoth bones. And a new verb has entered the vernacular: mamontit, or "to mammoth" -- meaning, to go out in search of bones...

The smoothest bones go to collectors and museums around the world; the less perfect samples are shipped to carving factories, especially in China, where they are refashioned into high-end household items and keepsakes.

Some people are dismayed that the discoveries are not being curated more precisely; others note that this source of ivory may decrease the incentive for elephant hunting in Africa.

Previously on Neatorama: Waking the Baby Mammoth.

Still on Neatorama: Mammoth 3D Anatomy Model/Puzzle.

Link, via A Very Remote Period Indeed.  Photo credit Fyodor Shidlovsky Archives

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It may reduce pressure on elephants for the time being, but by keeping alive the market for any sort of ivory it may well worsen things when this supply dries up.
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