Extinction, Meet Climate Change

Image via NPR.org

That big off-white thing sticking out of that bedrock is a tusk from a Wooly Mammoth. Yeah, those Wooly Mammoths from pre-historic days. A group of students from the University of Virginia were on a research trip to Alaska and they saw this while traveling down the Koyukuk River:

“We’re on this trip to basically to study the arctic, the idea of the arctic as a sanctuary,” said Epstein. “We did a river float trip, as part of what we’re doing and the mammoth tusk was pointed out to us. It’s amazing! During the time of the last glaciation and timing of the Bering Land Bridge, or what we call the mammoth steppe, that area was populated by lots of grazing animals, the mammoth being one of them. It’s not surprising that you’ll see this, but it’s also amazing to see in person.”

The metaphor that can be taken from this photo is not lost on me. This is especially true with water levels across several major rivers and lakes in North America at historic lows, exposing some amazing and sometimes grizzly finds – including two long dead bodies in Nevada’s Lake Mead.