- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 26, 2015

LOS ANGELES (AP) - The U.S. Geological Survey says a fossil discovery shows mammoths reached the Channel Islands off Southern California much earlier than was previously known.

The USGS says the fossil found on Santa Rosa Island was in uplifted marine deposits that date to 80,000 years ago, much farther back in time than the last glacial period 25,000 to 12,000 years ago.

The remains are believed to be those of a pygmy mammoth.

Scientists theorize that Columbian mammoths swam from the mainland to the islands when sea level was low and the distance minimal such as the Pleistocene ice ages, and the pygmy form evolved there.

Five of the eight isles in the chain are now Channel Islands National Park.

The research announced Tuesday is detailed in the journal Quaternary Research.

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