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.
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mammoth

[′mam·əth]
(paleontology)
Any of various large Pleistocene elephants having long, upcurved tusks and a heavy coat of hair.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005