The Woolly Mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius) is an extinct relative of the elephant that lived in North America and Europe during the Pleistocene Epoch until about 1700 B.C. These were smaller than average mammoths due to limited food supplies.
Woolly Mammoths were about nine to eleven feet tall at the shoulder. They had great curving tusks that they used for sweeping snow off the ground to get to the grasses and mosses on the ground that they eat, and possibly for fighting, similar to modern elephants. Like musk oxen, Woolly Mammoths were adapted for the cold due to their long, shaggy hair covering their bodies.
There are many theories as to why the Woolly Mammoth went extinct. A popular theory is that prehistoric man over-hunted them. Another is that the climate got too warm for the mammoths, and their adaption led to their downfall. It is possible that it was a combination of over hunting from early people and the warming of the climate which caused the grassy plains they depend on for food, to disappear.
Possible ResurrectionBecause of how frozen mammoths have been unearthed in Alaska and Canada, access to DNA is more than possible. Some believe that this could lead to the mammoth being brought back to life by either impregnating an elephant, or cloning it. By impregnating an elephant, either the elephant's genetic material is removed or replaced with a mammoth embryo, or impregnate an elephant with mammoth sperm, and thus make a hybrid.
What Does the Mammoth Have to do with Cryptozoology?
While generally accepted as extinct, there are claims of Woolly Mammoths still alive in the remote areas of the tundra of the Northern Hemisphere, many Native American Indian tribes have told tales that concern the animal: the Northeast Algonkians told of a "Great Moose" with a kind of limb growing between its shoulders, a fifth leg used to prepare its bed; while the Naskapi of northeastern Labradors knew of a monster with a long nose it used to hit people.
Siberian tribesmen have reported "large shaggy beasts" to local authorities, though there has been no scientific proof. The Mammoth has been sighted in Asia, South America, North America, Russia and other places as well.