Over the last few days, the science world has been buzzing with the latest and most adorable prehistoric paleontological discovery. A few years ago, fossils from the island of Crete in Greece were discovered and thought to be the remains of dwarf elephants. But a study published this week has shown that the fossils were not elephants, but actually tiny mammoths!
Meet the pygmy-mammoth, the cutest oxymoron to ever exist, ever! Weighing in at about 310 kg at a height of one metre at maturity, the pygmy-mammoth roamed Crete about 3.5 million years ago. It’s thought that the pygmy-mammoth was like a baby elephant but chunkier and bearing tusks. And like an elephant, it also probably didn’t have a wooly coat, owing to the warm sunny environment of Greece.
The pygmy-mammoth is a prime example of island dwarfism, where animals evolve smaller due to living in an isolated environment with limited space and resources. The mammoths that most of us are familiar with had gigantic tusks and were at least 4 metres tall. But this pint-sized pachyderm probably evolved to be smaller due to the restrictions of living on an island.
Now, I am probably not the first (nor the last) person to want one of these as a pet. So if I may suggest, if there is anyone out there that was thinking about cloning anything anytime soon, please consider this. If Oprah was still on TV, it would definitely be one of her favourite things. Okay, clearly I am suffering from an overdose of cuteness; I better end this post now…
PS. One last thought. If mini mammoths are as cute as baby elephants. Can you imagine what the babies of mini mammoths must look like. Eeeeeeeeeeeee!