The Death Of Male Mammoths
In 2017, scientists believed they found the answer for a quirk in the fossil record: why almost 70 percent of woolly mammoth remains were male. The research team, led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History, concluded that while the gender ratio was fairly equal at birth, it became skewed due to the hierarchy and living arrangements of mammoth society.
Similar to modern elephants, their woolly counterparts lived in groups led by an older matriarch. These groups consisted mostly of female mammoths and their young. Males, however, were kicked out when they reached adulthood and were sent to live on their own or form bachelor groups. Without the support of the herd and the experience of the matriarch, these young males engaged in more “risk-taking behavior.”
While this kind of behavior resulted in more deaths, it was also conducive toward preservation. Lone male mammoths were more inclined to fall prey to natural death traps such as sinkholes, bogs, and crevasses. Their remains were buried and protected from weathering unlike most other Ice Age animals, including a lot of their female counterparts.
The Missing Swiss Couple
One day, Marcelin Dumoulin and his wife, Francine, went to a meadow near the Swiss village of Chandolin to feed and milk their cows. They weren’t seen again for 75 years.
The Dumoulins disappeared on August 15, 1942. They were finally found in July 2017, when a shrinking glacier uncovered their frozen bodies. The ice had preserved the remains, which were found with their belongings and their identity papers intact. Subsequent DNA tests positively confirmed that the bodies were those of Marcelin and Francine Dumoulin.
It appears as though the couple fell into a crevasse, where they remained hidden away for decades. Once the Tsanfleuron Glacier started receding, it finally revealed their bodies. According to regional authorities, this sort of thing is not unheard of. Because of climate change, receding glaciers have regularly unveiled the frozen remains of people who disappeared years or even decades ago.
Finding The USS
The ship firmly entered pop culture with the release of , in which Captain Quint, depicted as a survivor of the , told the memorable story of how the men who went into the water were preyed upon by sharks for four days before being rescued. As for the vessel, it sank in just 12 minutes before sending a distress signal, resting on the bottom of the ocean somewhere between Guam and the Philippines.
Over the last two decades, two expeditions tried and failed to find the wreckage using modern technology. In 2016, a new lead emerged when records showed that the passed by another ship 11 hours before being attacked. Using the other vessel’s known route, a new expedition bankrolled by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen estimated the location of the shipwreck. Over a year later, they finally found the USS in the North Pacific Ocean at a depth of 5,500 meters (18,000 ft).