mammoth

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mammoth,

name for several large prehistoric relatives (genus Mammuthus) of modern elephantselephant,
largest living land mammal, found in tropical regions of Africa and Asia. Elephants have massive bodies and heads, thick, pillarlike legs, and broad, short padded feet, with toes bearing heavy, hooflike nails. The gray skin is loose, tough, thick, and nearly hairless.
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 which ranged over Eurasia and North America in the Pleistocene epoch. The shoulder height of the Siberian, or woolly, mammoth, which roamed throughout the Northern Hemisphere, was about 9 ft (2.7 m), and that of the imperial mammoth of the North American Great Plains was up to 13 1-2 ft (4.1 m). Mammoths were covered by a long, shaggy, black outer coat and a dense, woolly undercoat. They had complex, many-ridged molar teeth; long, slender upward-curved tusks; and a long trunk. Ivory hunters have collected their tusks for centuries (and continue to collect them) in Siberia, where tens of thousands have been discovered; it is from these and from the drawings left by the Cro-Magnon people in the caves of S France that the mammoth's appearance is known. Paleolithic (Old Stone Age) people hunted mammoths, as is evidenced by remains of the animals found together with tools, and may have contributed to their extinction. The last population, on Wrangel Island, Russia, in the Arctic, survived until c.5,000 years ago. Mammoths are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
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, subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Proboscidea, family Elephantidae.

mammoth

[′mam·əth]
(paleontology)
Any of various large Pleistocene elephants having long, upcurved tusks and a heavy coat of hair.

mammoth

any large extinct elephant of the Pleistocene genus Mammuthus (or Elephas), such as M. primigenius (woolly mammoth), having a hairy coat and long curved tusks
References in classic literature ?
His shrieks had brought both his father and herself flying to the hog barn to find him dancing up and down as, frightened and aghast, he vainly attempted to beat off old Dorcas, a mammoth sow, from one of her day-old litter on which, having crushed it by accident, she was now quite deliberately feasting.
A gorgeous, barbaric procession of painted warriors in jewel-studded harness and waving feathers; vicious, squealing thoats caparisoned in rich trappings; far above their heads the long lances of their riders bore fluttering pennons; foot-soldiers swinging easily along the stone pavement, their sandals of zitidar hide giving forth no sound; and at the rear of each utan a train of painted chariots, drawn by mammoth zitidars, carrying the equipment of the company to which they were attached.
There is the low, dark wainscoted room hung with sporting prints; the hat-stand (with a whip or two standing up in it belonging to bagmen who are still snug in bed) by the door; the blazing fire, with the quaint old glass over the mantelpiece, in which is stuck a large card with the list of the meets for the week of the county hounds; the table covered with the whitest of cloths and of china, and bearing a pigeon-pie, ham, round of cold boiled beef cut from a mammoth ox, and the great loaf of household bread on a wooden trencher.
Amongst us a simpleton, possessed by the demon of hate or cupidity, who has an enemy to destroy, or some near relation to dispose of, goes straight to the grocer's or druggist's, gives a false name, which leads more easily to his detection than his real one, and under the pretext that the rats prevent him from sleeping, purchases five or six grammes of arsenic -- if he is really a cunning fellow, he goes to five or six different druggists or grocers, and thereby becomes only five or six times more easily traced; -- then, when he has acquired his specific, he administers duly to his enemy, or near kinsman, a dose of arsenic which would make a mammoth or mastodon burst, and which, without rhyme or reason, makes his victim utter groans which alarm the entire neighborhood.
Any one of those mammoth low-brows at the door could eat him, armour and all.
The armament of the huge German airships, big as the biggest mammoth liners afloat, was one machine gun that could easily have been packed up on a couple of mules.
I saw a greater number of small lions and tigers, though many of the huge ones still persisted, while the woolly mammoth was more in evidence, as were several varieties of the Labyrinthadonta.
Crouching among the trees, which here commenced to thin out slightly, Bradley saw what appeared to be an enormous dragon devouring the carcass of a mammoth.
The trail of fossilized mammoth tracks is in central Oregon and over a stretch of about 65 feet, researchers found evidence that an adult mammoth was limping on its left side and two young, non-injured mammoths were backtracking out of concern for their comrade.
Summary: Veterans Balan, Biju and Ramamoorthy turn match winners in League of Mammoths
A group of woolly mammoths, the huge Ice Age mammals that lived and roamed the frigid tundra steppes of northern Asia, Europe and North America, are seen in this undated illustration provided courtesy of Giant Screen Films
A single genetic change may have made woolly mammoths fat, hairy and cold-loving.