Woolly mammoth
Temporal range: Pleistocene – Early Holocene
Mammuthus primigenius artwork
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Proboscidea
Family: Elephantidae
Tribe: Elephantini
Genus: Mammuthus
Species: M. primigenius
Binomial name
Mammuthus primigenius
Blumenbach, 1799
  • Elephas boreus Hay, 1924
  • Elephas mammonteus Cuvier, 1799
  • Elephas primigenius Blumenbach, 1799
  • Mammuthus boreus Brookes, 1828
  • Mammonteus primigenius Osborn, 1924

The woolly mammoth was a prehistoric elephant which lived a long time ago. It was large and covered with a shaggy exterior of long dark brown hair. It may have become extinct of climate change or hunting by prehistoric humans. It had very long, loopy tusks. It was one of the most famous ice age animals. Bodies have been found frozen well-preserved in ice or in tar pits. They were preyed upon by saber-toothed cats or any other carnivore of the ice age.

More generally, a mammoth is any species of the extinct genus Mammuthus. Proboscideans are members of Elephantidae, the family of elephants and mammoths, and close relatives of modern elephants. They were often equipped with long curved tusks and, in northern species, a covering of long hair. They lived from the Pliocene Epoch from around 4.8 million into the Pleistocene at about 4,500 years ago. The word mammoth comes from the Russian мамонт mamont , probably in turn from the Vogul (Mansi) language, mang ont, meaning "earth horn".

An extinct class of elephants, mammoths belonged to a diverse and widespread group of mammals known as the proboscideans, characterized by long, trunk-like noses. Mammoths first appeared in Africa early in the Pleistocene Epoch (the last 1.6 million years of the Earth’s history) and later migrated to Europe, Siberia, and across to North America. Proboscideans were very widespread. Their fossil remains can be found on every continent except Australia and South America.

The genus Mammuthus includes a number of several species, of which the best known is the woolly mammoth.There are also the steppe mammoth, imperial mammoth, dwarf mammoths, Columbian mammoth, Songhua river mammoth and Wrangel islands woolly mammoth.

MAMMOTH Skeleton(1)

Woolly Mammoth skeleton at American Museum of Natural History.

Most mammoths became extinct around 10,000 years ago, surviving on Siberia’s Wrangel Island longer than anywhere else on earth. Radiocarbon dating indicates that a dwarf population existed there until between 7000 and 3,700 years ago.

Popular Culture

  • The main characters Manny, Ellie, Peaches, and Julian from the Ice Age Film series are Woolly Mammoths. It also appeared on other Big Screen Movies like Journey to the beginning of time as a Stop Motion creature, Disney's Brother Bear, The Trilogy of Night at the Museum, 10,000 BC & Alpha.
  • Woolly Mammoths and other species of mammoths are in many BBC documentaries including the final episode of Walking with Beasts, Wild New World aka Prehistoric America, and Monsters We Met.
  • Some of the 2 Woolly Mammoths appeared in Animal Kaiser series.
    • Mammoth Priest
    • Demon Mammoth Gigantos
  • In Pokemon series, Mammoswine is based on Mammoth.
  • It appears in the Cenozoic Park section of Jurassic World: The Game as a tournament Snow creature.
  • In the third season of LEGO Legends of Chima, Maula, Mungus and Mottrot are Wooly Mammoths.