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OriginsThe Search for Our Prehistoric Past$
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Frank H. T. Rhodes

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781501702440

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501702440.001.0001

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Defrosting the Mammoth

Defrosting the Mammoth

(p.1) 1 Defrosting the Mammoth

Frank H. T. Rhodes

Cornell University Press

This chapter uses the archaeological history of the mammoth as an introduction to a broader exploration and discussion on the value of fossils and—still more broadly—the history of life. The “parable” of the mammoth provides a classic example of the recognition and the reconstruction of ancient creatures. The chapter discusses the limits and difficulties of this undertaking, noting that most known fossils are vastly older and considerably less well preserved than the mammoth specimen that is discussed at the beginning of the introduction. Likewise, the chapter also extols the advantages of studying fossils despite the limitations presented, before finally illustrating the process of fossilization.

Keywords:   mammoths, mastodons, fossils, fossilization, Lyuba

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