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An international team of researchers led by Patricia Pecnerova of the Swedish Museum of Natural History used genomic data to determine the sex of 98 random woolly mammoth specimens.
In doing so, they hoped to learn more about the social organization and behavior of mammoths in the last 60,000 years of their existence.
Sex ratios of elephants in the wild today are almost 50/50, and this, researchers believe, was most likely the case for mammoths as well.
So what explains the gender bias in the fossil record?
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Some of the most well preserved fossils come from animals that died in natural traps like falling through thin ice, drowning in pools, sinkholes, crevices, hot springs or getting caught in a mudflow.
It turns out, as one might expect, woolly mammoth society may not have been so different from the pachyderm families that roam earth today.It’s an intuitive explanation for the gender disparity in the fossil record, given we know how elephant herds behave today.