The woolly mammoth (scientific name, Mammuthus primigenius) is thought to have originated around 150,000 years ago, where they inhabited the harsh terrain of the Arctic Tundra. Woolly mammoth fossils have been found in both North America and Northern Eurasia, with the most pristinely preserved woolly mammoth fossils being found in Siberia.
The woolly mammoth adapted to the conditions of the Arctic Circle in a number of ways; the woolly mammoths hair was 90cm long to keep it warm; the woolly mammoths ears measured 1/5 size of an African elephants at only 30cm wide; woolly mammoths had a layer of fat under their skin that was around 8cm thick to keep them warm; the woolly mammoths curled tusks were up to 5m long and thought to be used for shovelling snow so the mammoths could find food that had been buried underneath it.
The woolly mammoth was originally thought to have become extinct around 10,000 BC. Recent findings however have shown some far more interesting results, with the woolly mammoth really becoming extinct over a period of thousands of years! The Eurasian woolly mammoth was thought to have become extinct around 8,000 BC and the North American woolly mammoth a few millennia later in 3,700 BC. The last colony of woolly mammoth is believed to have existed on Wrangle Island in the Arctic Ocean until 1,700 BC, which was only 3,709 years ago!
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