Meeting the Popular Ice Age Animal

This piece of writing is about an animal who lived more than 4,000 years ago. Humans have found about the mammoths in 1796 after the extinction. An impressive, interesting topic for most of us when we hear the word “mammoth”. The history, the evolution, the way of extinction, and the era they lived in maybe the reasons for that impression.

The most disappointing fact is the extinction of this mammoth that they are no more. Is there any reason? Yes. During the last ice age (Pleistocene) prevailed before 110,000-115,000, most of the animal varieties who couldn’t protect themselves from the cold died. Only the species with fur coats to protect from this climate remained. The woolly mammoth is also such an animal who saved its life more than the other species of mammoths. Woolly rhino is another one. Then how did they become extinct if they saved their lives during the ice age too? When the ice age started getting over by melting ice, the water levels in the oceans increased. Then, most of the areas started to get covered with water. Beyond that, the water in the rivers, streams and so on too became salty due to mixing up with the sea water.. Plenty of animals who saved their lives from this hard climate went through another major problem. The drinking water. Unfortunately, these furry mammoths too went extinct because of the lack of water in the condition for drinking. The grasslands too were not available due to the snowy climate prevailed.But as per the scientists, these mammoths have tried their best to survive without water. The attempt became useless and the last mammoth also went extinct.

Before the announcement of the scientists about the exact reason for this extinction, people believed that the human ancestors may have killed them. The last mammoth population prevailed in Alaska in the North Polar Region before 5,000-8,000 years ago. There is a cave in France, The Rouffignac Cave where there are 158 paintings of mammoths. These paintings may be 13,000 years old. The ancestors killed these mammoths for meat and the bones were taken for building their dwellings and the tusks were used for making arrows and the tips of spears. The coats were also very useful for making the ancestors’ clothes. But according to the researches, it said that those ancestors started their lives there in Wrangel Island (the place where the last mammoth reported) after hundred years of the extinction of the mammoths.

The woolly mammoth is the commonly known mammoth and it was the last variety of mammoths on the Earth. The history of elephants goes back about 5 million years. There were about 50 animal species similar to elephants at that time. Today we can find only two species namely the African elephant and the Asian Elephant. Among them, the Asian elephant too has faced the problem of extinction at the moment. The identical DNA of the mammoth and the modern elephant proves the two varieties have similarity in them. Availability of tusks, the size, the food, the way of giving birth all are similar in both the animals. But the kingdom which the elephants belong to has a history of 55 million years. That time, there were only two continents namely Eurasia and Godwaland.  Mammuthus Rumanus the oldest of the mammoths emerged in Europe and spread over to China 3 million years ago. Those mammoths did not have fur in their bodies. The expansion of them started in Africa and then it expanded to Europe, Asia, North America and then to South America respectively.

The woolly mammoths started their life 400,000 and 800,000 years ago. First, they lived in snow deserts near Siberia. The specialty in them was the fur coat to be protected from the heavy cold climate. These woolly mammoths were 13 feet tall. The weight was estimated as 8 tons. The female woolly mammoths got tusks which were 6 feet long and the male ones got 9 feet long tusks. The main purpose of having long tusks by the male mammoths was to attract the females during mating. The rings in the tusks tell about the age of the mammoth. Thick rings express the idea of having a good rate of healthy growth of the mammoth and the thin rings express the idea of vice versa. The undercoat of fur was thinner and curlier than the outer coat. Mammuthus imperator weighed 10 more than tons and Mammathus Sungari weighed 15 more than tons were the biggest species of mammoths which existed. They had short ears and very smaller eyes than the African or Asian elephants’ that we see today. That was for protection from the cold. They ate leaves of the trees and grass. They lived 60-80 years. The lastly prevailed woolly mammoths didn’t feel the odor also because of the weak health conditions due to the non-availability of food and water for them to consume. The mammoths who were used to living in herds started to live single lately.

Don’t you feel like bringing these innocent, carnivorous mammoths back among the other animals? Is that something crazy? Nicknamed Buttercup, a female mammoth’s DNA that preserved well who lived nearly 40,000 years ago is such a hope for us to bring them back. “The Woolly Mammoth Revival” is that precious project. The habitat should be created favorably for their survival. The change of microbes during the past thousand years is another major point in bringing this project a success. The researchers have the question of keeping the mammoths alive after bringing them back under the prevailing conditions of weather and the surrounding.

Even this bringing back process is not that much easy, it brings favorable effects for the environment too. This process can increase biodiversity. Not only that, the endangered species also can take the advantage of this project by de-extinction of those species if they will also go extinct. The project will be a very precious turning point for all the animals and the humans if it is successful.  

Photo: Ruth Hartnup,
Lyuba, The 42,000 Year Old Baby Woolly Mammoth In The Shemanovsky Museum

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