November 18, 2003

Past Episodes

Mammoth Display
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Mammoth Painting The word Mammoth comes from two words from the Estonian language: "Maa", which means earth, and "Mutt", which means mole. Estonia is a country near Russia where farmers found gigantic bones in their fields. They thought that the bones belonged to huge burrowing animals.


Migration map

Geologic Time Scale

Mammoths in Idaho

Classification:The mammoth is a relative to the modern elephant (Proboscidea). Like many other Ice Age mammals, the mammoth became extinct more than 11,000 years ago. Elephants are the largest living land mammals. There have been more than 500 different kinds of elephants on the Earth at different times over the last 55 million years. Only two of these remain alive today: the African Elephant and the Asian (or Indian) Elephant. They live in tropical climates, but other species, living long ago, were more adapted to colder climates. These include the mammoths.

Where were they: Remains of Mammoths have been found in Europe, Asia and North America. Three species of mammoths (genus Mammuthus) lived on the mainland of the United States at the end of the last Ice Age. These were the Columbian mammoth (Mammuthus columbi), Jefferson's mammoth (Mammuthus jeffersonii) and the woolly mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius). The Mammoths' Journey

FactDid you know...Paleontologists have found that the inner surface of one tusk tends to be more worn than the other? This could mean that mammoths were "right-tusked" or "left-tusked".

How do we know about the mammoths?
          We know about many animals that lived in the past from fossil remains. But with woolly mammoths, whole animals have been found. During the Ice Age, mammoths died and were trapped in ice which preserved them. Some parts of the world are still cold, and still hold the preserved mammoths.
Mammoth ClipartMammoth ClipartQUICK FACTS
9-14 feet (3.5) meters at the shoulder More
6-10 Tons
a fur coat in 2 layers, good for cold weather. The thick, long, shaggy outercoat was probably black. The other was a fine, short undercoat. More
Photos and a diagram of the mammoth's skeleton, Comparative anatomy
special teeth with ridges, grew 5 or 6 sets in their life, had no enamel, added a growth ring every year.  Photo of Tooth.
are teeth that extend from the mammoth's mouth.Female tusks grew to 5-6 feet, male tusks grew to 8 or 9 feet. The tusks help researchers identify the age of the animal at the time of death. Just like a tree, a cross section of a tusk reveals growth rings that reveal an animal's age. Video
herbivores: animals that eat plants. They ate,leaves, bushes, willow, fir. They might have used their tusks to clear snow. They probably ate about 700 pounds of grass, leaves each day.
Life span
up to between 60 and 80 years

Mammoths Clipart 
Why did certain animals become extinct? Scientists do not know for sure, but there are a few hypotheses: infectious disease, human hunting, environmental causes, volcanoes, asteroids

Geologic Time Follow the history of the earth from about 543 million years ago to the present. Don't forget to stop off at the Pleistocene Epoch.

Follow a group of paleontologists as they travel to Wrangel Island in Siberia to hunt
Mammoth Clipartfor mammoth bones and teeth. Mammoths survived on Wrangle Island longer than anywhere else earth. Wrangel Island is a 2000-square-mile island in the Chukchi Sea off northeastern Siberia.
In 1994, construction crews working in
Tolo Lake near Grangeville, Idaho, uncovered a large bone. It turned into the discovery of several mammoth fossils hidden in the lake bed.
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