Woolly Mammoth

Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Wikipedia.

Woolly Mammoth


(Mammuthusprimigenius), an extinct mammal of the family Elephantidae that inhabited Europe, northern Asia, and North America in the second half of the Pleistocene. The woolly mammoth became extinct approximately 10,000 years ago. Its size (height, 2.5-3.5 m) did not exceed that of living elephants, and it weighed up to 7 tons. The body was covered with thick hair and had a thick undercoat. The animal fed on grass and scrub. During the winter it obtained these from beneath the snow by means of its complexly curved tusks. The molars, which had numerous thin dentin-enamel plates, were well adapted for grinding coarse food.

The woolly mammoth was a contemporary of Lower Paleolithic man, as is evidenced by the finds of mammoth bones, often with traces of working, at Paleolithic sites. Paintings and sculptures of the mammoth by ancient man have also been found. More than 40 mammoth carcasses, preserved in permanently frozen ground, have been discovered in northern Siberia and Alaska. The most complete specimen was excavated in 1901-02 on the bank of the Berezovka River (a tributary of the Kolyma) by an expedition of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences. It was subjected to anatomical, histological, and biochemical analysis; the remains of food found in its mouth and stomach were also analyzed. The skeleton and a stuffed version of the mammoth are on display in the Zoological Museum of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR in Leningrad.

The remains of woolly mammoths serve as index fossils in determining the geologic age of Anthropogene continental deposits. Mammoth tusks found in permafrost layers are used for making art objects.


Illarionov, V. T. Mamont: K istorii ego izucheniia v SSSR. Gorky, 1940.
Osnovy paleontologii: Mlekopitaiushchie. Moscow, 1962.
Augusta, J., and Z. Burian. Kniga o mamontakh. Prague, 1962.
Garutt, V. E. Das Mammut. Mammuthus primigenius (Blumenbach). Wittenberg (Lutherstadt), 1964.


References in periodicals archive ?
And these Russian scientists, the Zimovs, have shown since the 80s that if you repopulate it with herbivores from the Pleistocene era -- and they're using tanks to mimic woolly mammoths and they're putting bison there -- they've managed to lower the temperature of the tundra by 15 degrees.
It sounds like the punchline to a joke, but there it is: The last woolly mammoths died of thirst.
Discovered near the banks of the Irtysh river in western Serbia in the late 1990s, the skeleton has been identified as that of a male woolly mammoth belonging to the 'Mammuthus Primigenius' species - whose closest extant relative is the Asian elephant.
The woolly mammoth heading for the BRICK 2015 LEGO show
Genome Study Brings Woolly Mammoth DNA Back From the Dead
What was initially mistaken for a bent, muddy old fence post turned out to be the rib bone of an ancient woolly mammoth that died between 11,000 and 15,000 years ago, said Professor Daniel Fisher from the department of archaeology at the University of Michigan.
There's just so much information in them," she says, pointing to the extinction of the woolly mammoth as an indication of major climatic changes that irrevocably altered its diet.
To figure that out, the team first had to find woolly mammoth bits well-preserved enough to sequence.
Woolly mammoths, which were about as big as modern African elephants, sported long curved tusks and thick hairy coats.
In the zig-zag pursuit, the woolly mammoth gets snagged on the tower of a toy castle, and starts to unravel, getting smaller and smaller, so that 'Stomp, Stump, Stompety Stomp' becomes 'Pitterpat-pitter', and he's cute and cuddly instead of scary (though he never was that scary, really).
Hundreds of thousands of years ago, the area was a massive polar ice sheet, with walls of ice kilometres high, where woolly mammoth and strait-tusked elephants wandered with sabre-toothed cats, bison and giant short-faced bears.
ENGLAND Mammoth researcher Professor Adrian Lister, left, and curator of the Shemanovsky Museum Galina Karzanova looking at Lyuba, a baby woolly mammoth considered to be the most complete example of the species ever found, at the Natural History Museum in London.