The genus mammoths, in latin Mammuthus,
was a group of species, belonging to the family of elephants, entirely separated in
taxonomy from the Mastodons and the genus family Mammutidae, although they sometimes
shared the same envoronment. (For scientific reasons, the mastodons was renamed to family Mammutidae, which became a source for future confusion and misunderstandings).
The Mammoths probably has origin from Stegodon and started to develop during upper Pliocene, (some 4 million years ago) in africa, spred to europe and asia, and Mammuthus meridionalis went over Bering Strait to north america about 1.8 million years ago, (the wooly Mammoth went over much later) and became extinct during lower Holocene, probaby exterminated by prehistoric humans who hunted elephants and Mammoths and made huts and houses out of their bones.
caracters of Mammoths
- They had bumps on their head
- Both sexes had tusks
- Some tusks were straight, some were curved
- The longest tusks were up to 13 feet (4 m) long.
- Mammoths had longer tusks than Mastodons, a wider head, a sloping back and flat chewing teeth
- Their trunk had two finger-like projections like african elephants
- Their teeth were flat like asian elephants
- Most species was not larger than recent elephants
Compare with the african bush elephant! and the asian elephant!
Taxonomy and species
Recently made DNA-tests (Extern reference link) gives the indication that genus Mammuthus is a sister genus to elephas, with a gap to Loxodonta. Mammoths lived in different areas, some in the northern arctic areas, but not all of them, and they developed over a long period into different forms, so when speaking about Mammoths, it should be clear that this is a group of species, and not only the species wolly Mammoth. There were several recognized species:
- Flat-browed Mammoth (Mammuthus planifrons)
- Southern Mammoth (Mammuthus meridionalis)
- Woolly Mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius)
- Steppe mammoth (Mammuthus trogontherii)
- Columbian mammoth (Mammuthus columbi)
- Jefferson's mammoth (Mammuthus jeffersonii)
- Pygmy mammoth (Mammuthus exilis)
Extinction and excavation sites
- The first Mammoths started to appear some 2 million years ago, and they share ancestor with the recent asian elephant.
- The last mammoths was still living 4 000 years ago at Wrangel Island in the Arctic Sea north of Siberia. They were dwarf like, abt 1.8 meters high, probably as an adaption to the life on an island.
- 1910 a whole skeleton was excavated in Germany (picture above)
- Several mammoths have been excavated from 20 000 year old layers at the ancient lake shores of Basin of Mexico near Mexico City
- Dr. Ernest L. Lundelius, Jr. of the Vertebrate Paleontology Laboratory excavated 1985 a partial mammoth skeleton in Travis County, Texas.
- In 1997, Simion Jarkov, a 9-year-old nomadic reindeer herder came across a pair of woolly mammoth tusks buried in the frozen tundra of Siberia. This mammoth baby is called Dima
- One of the best preserved Canadian specimens consists of most of an entire skeleton from Whitestone River in the Yukon Territory
- In July, 2000, Spencer Trennert found a mammoth tibia on Nicholson Peninsula, N.W.T.— to the southeast but still in the lee of the Tuktoyaktuk Peninsula, on the Arctic coast of western Canada.(Link)