Mammoth, an extinct animal related to and resembling the elephant. Mammoths were abundant during the Ice Age. Several species have been identified. The earliest, the flat-browed mammoth, appeared in Africa, Europe, and Asia about 5,000,000 years ago. Another early species was the southern mammoth of Europe and Asia. Later species were the imperial mammoth of western North America and the woolly, or Siberian, mammoth of central Europe, northern Asia, and North America.
The imperial mammoth was the largest mammoth. It was 15 feet (4.6 m) high at the shoulder and weighed more than 8 tons (7,260 kg). (An unusually large African elephant may reach a similar weight but a height of only about 13 feet [4 m].) Mammoths had long, curved tusksin one specimen, 16 feet 5 inches (5 m) long. The molar teeth were arranged in plates, like those of modern elephants. The head had a dome of fatty tissue, and the body was humpbacked, sloping backward from the shoulders. Mammoths were covered with shaggy dark hair.Mammoths had long curved tusks, shaggy dark hair, and humped backs.
Thousands of mammoths have been found frozen in the soil of Siberia and Alaska. Many are perfectly preserved, even to the stomach contentsmostly grass and leaves. Remains of dwarf mammoths, which were about six feet (1.8 m) high at the shoulder, have been found on islands off the coasts of California and Siberia.
Stone Age people hunted mammoths and drew pictures of them on the walls of caves. Most mammoths became extinct about 10,000 years ago; some dwarf mammoths lived as recently as 4,000 years ago. Over-hunting by humans and a warming of the climate may have together caused the extinction of mammoths.
Another Ice Age animal, the mastodon, was elephant-like and is often confused with the mammoth. .)
The flat-browed mammoth is Mammuthus plani-frons; southern, M. meridionalis; imperial, M. imperator; woolly, M. primigenius. All belong to the elephant family, Elephantidae.