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Applying radiocarbon (14C) dating using accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) to the skeleton of a mammoth and the associated plant remains have been dated. The fossil of Zhalai Nur mammoth was dated to 43,500 +1000/–900 14C yr BP. The results of optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) dating, which show that a fluvially deposited gravel layer, from that the mammoth fossils were excavated, formed between 51,300±2100 and 26,600±1200 yr BP, place the new AMS 14C dates in a well-developed chronological framework. Through this study, it can be summarized that, firstly, using suitable sample material, it is possible to obtain reliable AMS 14C results, even when the ages of the target materials approach the upper limits of the method. Second, it reveals that a depositional hiatus exists during the Late Pleistocene, between ca. 26,000 yr BP and ca. 13,000 yr BP. Finally, large rivers and widely distributed areas of alluvial-fluvial deposits existed in this present-day desert area between ca. 51,000 and 26,000 yr BP. These results may shed new light on the study of the Mammuthus-Colelodonta-Bubalus fauna, the most important and fully developed fauna during the Late Pleistocene in northeastern China. They also deepen our understanding about the eco-environments of the region.
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