Your article suggested yet a second possibility leading to the decline or extinction of the mammoths in the region of the apparent iron micrometeorite-shower impact, which drove the metallic particles into the sides of the fossil tusks examined. That same shower of high-velocity metallic particles found in the tusks probably perforated the skin and soft tissues of the mammoths, causing extensive hemorrhaging and more or less immediate, widespread death rather than having “rendered much of northern Alaska inhospitable for decades.”

Carl B. Mankinen
Jacksonville, Fla.

This study focuses on the mammoth tusks, but a skull of a Siberian bison shows signs of bone growth after similar particles became embedded in it, suggesting the creature survived the event. Because the outer layers of tusk material are already dead (essentially, a tusk is a big tooth), it’s impossible to tell whether the mammoths survived the event. —Sid Perkins