Woolly Mammoth

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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.

REFERENCES

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.

V. E. GARUTT

References in periodicals archive ?
Ahead of the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Boston this week, Professor George Church of Harvard University spoke about the progress his team has made over two years of trying to recreate the genetic blueprint of the long-extinct woolly mammoth.
Experts at the National Museum of Scotland have confirmed it is from a woolly mammoth. They are now working to establish its age.
George Church - "the Einstein of our times," according to author Ben Mezrich - a lab at Harvard Medical School is working on bringing back the woolly mammoth through genetic engineering.
The implication of the old idea that woolly mammoths were hunted to extinction is that people are bad at managing common resources.
The fossil of what was once a giant prehistoric woolly mammoth during the Ice Age about 15,000 years ago has become a permanent fixture in the Abu Dhabi mall.
MOSKOVA (CyHAN)- Russian scientists undertaking an exploratory expedition on the Lyakhovsky Islands have discovered woolly mammoth remains including skin and tusk, which they believe suitable for obtaining the DNA necessary to clone the animal.
"The woolly mammoth, steppe bison and Pleistocene horse ranged from Spain to the Yukon continuously," Schwartz-Narbonne says.
Researchers deciphered the genomes of two woolly mammoths that died about 20,000 and 60,000 years ago.
In what may be a first for a long-extinct non-human animal-and certainly for an extinct creature of such stature-scientists have assembled the complete genome of the woolly mammoth, gaining insight into why the last surviving population of the great beasts, marooned on an Arctic island of the coast of Russia, may have disappeared.
NEW YORK -- Scientists are getting their best look yet at the DNA code for the woolly mammoth, thanks to work that could be a step toward bringing back the extinct beast.
Humans have been fascinated with woolly mammoths since our paths first crossed in the last ice age, which began around 2.5 million years ago.