Mammoth tusk gold rush
November 25, 2019 11:52 AM   Subscribe

The climate crisis has sparked a Siberian mammoth tusk gold rush. "The Arctic permafrost is thawing, revealing millions of buried mammoth skeletons. But the rush for mammoth ivory could put elephants in danger all over again." posted by homunculus (9 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
related: How to forge rhinoceros horn
posted by chavenet at 11:57 AM on November 25, 2019

posted by mandolin conspiracy at 1:31 PM on November 25, 2019 [2 favorites]

This is the source of risk that climate scientists worry about the most.
posted by ocschwar at 2:01 PM on November 25, 2019


I came across the same article (via Pocket*), which cribs its images from the previous Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty article, which did first-hand research with such "ethical ivory" hunters, or tuskers, back in 2016. I wasn't sure what was fresh here (heh).

* Pocket is an in odd Firefox app, that is sort of like Digg? But like so many crowd-sourced "hot story" aggregators, the stories aren't always new. But what's worse, Pocket sometimes "mirrors" stories and strips original dates, so you have no idea of how fresh something is until you search for the original article, which doesn't seem to be linked in those Pocket archived stories. Luckily, they appear to scrape the content, and don't change the story title or byline, and cite the original publication source. /derail
posted by filthy light thief at 2:03 PM on November 25, 2019 [4 favorites]

The density of animal remains in this region suggest that it was once a swamp or bog that trapped animals

And methane!


The other problem aside from the climate change that's making the mammoth tusks accessible, the methods used to extract them (like many other forms of "artisanal" mining) creates a whole other bunch of problems. For one, there's the riverbank erosion caused by blasting away at them with fire hoses to get at the tusks.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 2:12 PM on November 25, 2019 [4 favorites]

We shouldn't worry. I'm sure there weren't any biological organisms that survived that long, like, say, bacteria or a virus. Right?
posted by Chuffy at 2:25 PM on November 25, 2019 [1 favorite]

The density of animal remains in this region suggest that it was once a swamp or bog that trapped animals

Maybe a "Hey y'all, watch this!" situation, but for mammoths: Why Teenage Male Mammoths Tended to Die in Really Silly Ways.

Also, this was an interesting bit of recent mammoth hunting news: Mexican mammoth trap provides first evidence of prehistoric hunting pits.
posted by peeedro at 2:56 PM on November 25, 2019 [4 favorites]

Came to post the 'previously' link, which I instantly thought of after reading the FPP, what with that photo of the mosquitos forever burned into my memory.

Environmental degradation, scientific looting, unsustainable underground economies... and the #1 thing that resonates with me is a matter of one's personal (dis)comfort. Reflecting on that makes me question my worldview, just a bit. But, if I've learned anything recently, it's not to question yourself, it's to question the other guy more loudly... SERIOUSLY DUDE WHERE ARE YOUR SHOES?

Kidding aside, I suppose my rationale for reflecting more on the mosquitos comes from my experiences with them during a summer I spent in Siberia. In particular, I remember taking a hike with a family I was staying with. The father wouldn't let me on the trail before I put on a bright blue, shiny plastic oversuit he brought me. There are, somewhere in a decade+ old digital photo album, pictures of me deep in the Russian forest looking part nurse-in-scrubs, part astronaut (the suit had a funky head covering), and completely ridiculous (especially next to him -- he had on plain hiking clothes). I didn't get bitten, but I'd guess I sweated off a pound or five in that thing. Probably made it back eating shashlik afterwards...
posted by Theophrastus Johnson at 3:02 PM on November 25, 2019 [2 favorites]

On "Instagram" I follow an Alaska mining company that has stumbled upon an incredible deposit of bones, tusks, and detritus. It's intense.

The Boneyard Alaska

posted by From Bklyn at 1:01 AM on November 26, 2019 [1 favorite]

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