24 May 2016

Morris County, Kansas, pipestone artifact could be a mammoth head figure including a trunk with depiction of "digitiform processes"

Morris County, Kansas, pipestone, Stauffer-Allison collection, 32cm

Interpreted by Ken Johnston as a possible mammoth head figure including a trunk with a depiction of two "digitiform processes," finger-like appendages known to be be a part of mammoth anatomy.

Illustration from National Geographic magazine. Modern elephant, top, woolly mammoth, bottom. The mammoth trunk fingers are seen in illustration above the number 1. Plotnikov et al., 2015.

"For example, the end of Yuka’s trunk had two finger-like projections that were longer than those of modern elephants. These “digitiform processes” are thought to have afforded mammoths a finer grip on the grasses they grazed on as they trundled over the frigid steppe."

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