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Woolly mammoth brains, like mammal brains, were a good source of Omega-3 – March 2018

Mammoth resources for hominins: from omega‐3 fatty acids to cultural objects

J. of Quaternary Science, https://doi.org/10.1002/jqs.3026
José L. Guil‐Guerrero Alexei Tikhonov Rebeca P. Ramos‐Bueno Semyon Grigoriev Albert Protopopov ... See all authors

The mammoth is assessed here both for its cultural significance as well as a source of dietary n‐3 (omega‐3) fatty acids in Palaeolithic societies. For this, we analysed fats from several frozen mammoths found in the permafrost of Siberia (Russian Federation) and conducted a comprehensive literature review on the relationships of hominins with mammoths throughout the Stone Age. Different mammoth samples were included in this study, all very close to the Upper Palaeolithic. All samples were analysed by gas liquid chromatography‐mass spectrometry and gas liquid chromatography‐flame ionization detection. Hominins consumed mammoths throughout the Palaeolithic, while remains of this animal were used as building materials as well as to fabricate different tools and decorative objects, and thus it is possible to link cultural development and mammoth consumption. Based on the fatty acid profiles found, fat samples from two mammoths were in apparently good preservation, yielding α‐linolenic acid percentages very close to values found in extant elephants, thus allowing an assessment of their feasibility as a source of essential fatty acids for Palaeolithic hunters. As demonstrated in this work, mammoths constituted a cultural resource in addition to contributing to fulfilling the n‐3 fatty acid needs of Palaeolithic hominins in Europe.

Quick read of this study from Sci-hub.tw
Hominins often opened the mammoth skull and carried the brains with them.
The brain did not have much energy content, but analysis of frozen mammoths has found a high level of Omega-3 in the brains.


DHA, an important omega-3 fatty acid, is found concentrated in mammalian brains. For example, according to Nutrition Data, 85 g (3 oz) of cooked beef brain contains 727 mg of DHA

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