Mammoths Were Sickly Inbred Mutants Who Couldn't Smell

Researchers out of the University of Buffalo, who've spent years studying woolly mammoth DNA, have discovered that during their species' final days mammoths got so desperate for sexual mates that, left with no other option, they started inbreeding. The woolly thirsty mammoths didn't just one day realize that under certain light their cousin is kinda hot like a badly acted PornHub video. It was just regular everyday reproductive sex for them, but they had a small gene pool to work with that had been winnowed down after massive geological upheavals and our early ancestors finding out that they were delicious. The sad reality of their demise is that some of the last woolly mammoths to have ever lived basically cousin-banged their genetic code into oblivion.

If this were a New Yorker cartoon, the caption would read, They went out with a bang.  But we are above such frivolity here. Warpaint/ShutterstockIf this were a New Yorker cartoon, the caption would read, "They went out with a bang." But we are above such frivolity here.

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With the end of the Ice Age, rising sea levels trapped a lot of mammoths onto small islands with sparse genetic diversity. The years of inbreeding had made life generally pretty miserable. They were tormented by a horrid cornucopia of neurological disorders and often suffered from diabetes and intense heartburn. A lot of the males were infertile, which is nature's way of subtly suggesting that maybe your species shouldn't exist anymore. Like a responsible bartender who cuts you off after you've had one too many and you're hitting on your cousin.

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Sure, it's sad to think about a woolly mammoth with epilepsy brought on by a genetic code that had been wrung through a meat grinder because its family tree was also its Tinder, but it somehow gets even sadder. The poor things lost their ability to smell flowers. They could smell everything else just fine, but if a couple of closely related young mammoth lovers wanted to canoodle in a field of flowers and bask in their romantic aromas, well they were shit out of luck. Just like their species' chances of survival.

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Luis can be found on Twitter and Facebook. Check out his regular contributions to Macaulay Culkin's BunnyEars.com and his "Meditation Minute" segments on the Bunny Ears podcast. And now you can listen to the first episode on Youtube!


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