There are several scientific awards, and which ever you get of them you always feel super-honored. But they are all there for different reasons. One of them is the Darwin award. It is given out to: “commemorate those who improve our gene pool–by removing themselves from it in the most spectacular way possible”. So always posthumously. This year the mammoth got it. For the males not being able to do proper risk-assessments and dying in silly ways.
The award is of course a funny thing, there to spread science and increase the interest for it. But there is usually a good study somewhere behind the award. This time it is a fairly simple but still brilliant study on sex ratios in encountered mammoth remains that Love Daléns team conducted. The experiment is simple, looking for X and Y chromosomal DNA in the remains. The reasoning was the brilliant part, the mammoth bones remains because they were deposited, and eventually found in weird places. The only drawback with this study is that the silliness of male mammoths, that has remained a hidden secret for thousands of years, now was revealed.
Mammoth tusk on Wrangel island, by Love Dalén