Skeleton bones of woolly mammoths and a woolly rhinoceros were found in situ nearby Orvelte (the Netherlands) in the upper coarse of a former brook valley in 1991. A bone fragment and deposits were 14C dated to 44,000-47,000 yBP. Paleobotanical research included the analysis of both pollen and plant macroremains. A total of 64 vascular plants and 20 mosses could be identified on the basis of macrofossils. Together with the pollen analysis, an extensive record became available for the reconstruction of the former landscape. Many vascular plant species are indicative of both open water and bordering marshy areas. Also most of the mosses originate from this aquatic to wet environment. Outside this valley, on the moist to dry plateau, an almost treeless vegetation dominated by the dwarf birch (Betula nana) was present. That we are still dealing with a heterogeneous landscape on the plateau is, for example, illustrated by the presence of both calcicolous species, such as Carex caryophyllea, Scabiosa columbaria and Homalothecium cf. lutescens, and of others which are calcifuge, such as Rumex acetosella. Low temperatures are not only evidenced by the low percentage of tree pollen, but also by the presence of glacial species: Betula nana, Ranunculus hyperboreus, Carex chordorrhiza and Potamogeton vaginatus and P. filiformis. Nevertheless, it is striking that most plant species that once witnessed the mammoths and woolly rhinos in the Netherlands, are still part of the present vegetation.

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Natuurhistorisch Museum Rotterdam

R.T.J. Cappers, & S. Bottema. (2003). A reconstruction of the landscape of the mammoth site near Orvelte, the Netherlands. Deinsea, 9(1), 87–96.