Period of life:
EU, Canada, USA, Russia
Woolly mammoth is a genus of northern mammoths roamed forest steppes of Europe, Canada, North America, Siberia and Asia during the ice age became extinct about 4,000 years ago. In 1796 skeletal bones and huge tusks described by French naturalist Johann Blumenbach were recovered in Siberia. The first complete mammoth skeleton, named “Adams mammoth”, was unearthed at the banks of Lena river in 1799.
Typical genus species was not larger than living African elephant. It was 2.7 to 3.4 metres in height and weighed about 6 tonnes. The steppe and American mammoth were the largest species measuring 4 metres in height and 10 to 14 tonnes weight. The animal could coupe cold climate very well thanks to its thick three layers fur coat: undercoat, intermediate and guard hairs. Ten centimetres fat layer created the additional thermal insulation.
Ear flaps, trunk and limbs were much smaller than those of modern-day Asian elephants. It is explained by the Allen's rule, stating that animals adapted to cold climates have shorter limbs and bodily appendages to save the heat. Tusks were really gigantic and curved. Being six metres long it weighed around 100 kilograms.
The mammoths lifespan was maximum 80 years with average being 45 to 50 years. It probably lived in herds of 2-9 species headed by a matriarch, whilst bulls lived solitary or formed loose groups after sexual maturity. The elephant ancestors fed on grass, pine, willow and larchen branches, eating daily about 180 kilograms of plants. Scientists determined two main extinction reasons: climate warming and human hunting.