The winter is slowly ending; snow is melting and we dedicate a short piece to one of the largest mammals from the last Ice Age – the woolly mammoth (Mamuthus primigenius).
During the late Pleistocene, Mamuthus primigenius occupied the grassland areas of Eurasia and North America. This mammal, closely related to today’s Indian elephant, grew to 4.5 m and could weigh up to 4000 kg. It fed mainly on different sorts of grass. The hair of Mamuthus primigenius was up to 60 cm long and its color ranged from tawny through brown to black. In addition to bones, scientists have recovered much information about Mamuthus primigenius from frozen specimens in Siberian permafrost.
As a matter of fact, it is not true that all Woolly Mammoths were large animals. The dwarf subspecies of Mamuthus primigenius grew only to 1.8 m in height. This small chap occupied Wrangel Island from approximately 10,000 to 2,000 years BC! So these dwarf mammoths lived during the times of building the Egyptian pyramids.
The Europeana portal contains much information about woolly mammoths, including many images. For example, the beautiful mandible (above) is stored in the Museum of Geology, University of Tartu. It was collected in 1840 by Herr von Mierzerjewski in Poland, near Bug River. This sample measures 50x50 cm and weighs 16.6 kg.
If you are interested in these prehistoric creatures, you can find great collections on Europeana portal. Stay tuned!