The Eastern Arctic Seas Encyclopedia

2016 Edition
| Editors: Igor S. Zonn, Andrey G. Kostianoy, Aleksandr V. Semenov

Mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius)

Reference work entry
Mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius) – an extinct species of elephants. The mammoth was covered with dense long reddish-brown hair. It was up to 3.5 m in height. The body weight is up to 6 t. The average weight of a pair of tusks is 120 kg. It has been known since the second half of the Pleistocene. It was found in Europe, Siberia, and northwestern North America. The species was especially widely spread in the warm postglacial period (40,000–45,000 years ago). It was extinct from the late Pleistocene to early Holocene (9,000–13,000 years ago) due to changes in climate and landscape conditions, especially due to the increase of the thickness of the snow cover, which hampered foraging in winter. In Europe, the disappearance of the mammoth was significantly contributed by its extermination by humans. The mammoth was a hunting object for prehistoric people, as evidenced by rock paintings. The humans used the meat, skins, and parts of the skeleton. People fabricated different tools and art products from its tusks. The mammoth reached sexual maturity at the age of 10–15; the life expectancy was 60–70. Skeletal remains of the mammoth, particularly tusks, are often found in the north of Siberia and Alaska. In the eighteenth century, in northern Yakutia, mainly on the New Siberian Islands, a whole industry was originated to collect mammoth tusks from a melted soil (up to 25 t in some years). Stuffed mammoth is exhibited in the Zoological Museum in St. Petersburg and in Moscow Darwin Museum.

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