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Learn About Mammoths

A mammoth is a species of the extinct elephantid genus Mammuthus.  They lived from the Pliocene to the Holocene about 5 million years ago to 4,000 years ago. The oldest species of Mammuthus is the South African mammoth M. subplanifrons, and lived about 5 million years ago during the early Pliocene, that is now southern and eastern Africa. Descendant species of these mammoths moved north and eventually covered most of Eurasia, starting to extend to the Americas about 600,000 years ago. The last species of mammoth to appear where the woolly mammoth M. primigenius about 400,000 years ago in East Asia until 4,000 years ago.


The Columbian mammoth was the largest known species reached up to 13 feet tall. Most populations of the woolly mammoth were in North America and Eurasia, and the Columbian mammoths (M. columbi).


The woolly mammoth was roughly the same size as the modern day African elephant, reaching up to 11 feet tall. They lived during the Pleistocene until the early Holocene. The woolly mammoth diverged from the steppe mammoth about 800,000 years ago in East Asia. They were well adapted for cold environments, having thick fur and their  ears and tail were short to minimize frostbite . The woolly mammoth coexisted with humans, who used their bones and tusks for making art and tools.


WMNH paleontologists research the Pleistocene time period. Columbian mammoths being one of the animals that we find.

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