Woolly mammoths roamed free across Europe, Asia, Africa and North America during the last Ice Age, before vanishing entirely about 4,000 years ago.
Woolly mammoths lived in two groups which are thought to have been different enough to be characterized as separate subspecies. One woolly mammoth group stayed in the middle of the high Arctic, while the other woolly mammoth group had a much wider range.
The woolly mammoth was an enormous animal, with adults often reaching heights of four meters or more. Woolly mammoths in certain areas where, on average slightly smaller in size and could in fact be just half the size of one of the largest woolly mammoth individuals.
As elephants do today, the woolly mammoth had enormous tusks which would have been used for both digging and collecting food, and for intimidating and fighting off both predators and rivals. The tusks of the woolly mammoth were often quite dramatically curved and could easily be up to 5 meters (16ft) long.
Like the African and Asian elephants still found roaming the small parts of the planet today, the woolly mammoth was a herbivorous animal meaning that it survived on a purely plant-based diet. Woolly mammoths would have eaten similar vegetation to modern-day elephants, browsing the forests for leaves, fruits, nuts, twigs and berries.
Due to the sheer size of the woolly mammoth, it had only one real predator in it’s natural environment which was sabre-toothed cats that would often hunt the smaller woolly mammoth calves. Other than human hunters that quickly wiped out the woolly mammoth populations in vast areas of the Arctic tundra, the rapidly melting ice had an enormous impact on their demise.
Although little is really known about the reproduction of woolly mammoths, it is quite likely that in a similar way to elephants, the female woolly mammoth would have given birth to a single woolly mammoth calf after a nearly year long (maybe even longer) gestation period. Woolly mammoths are thought to have had quite a long lifespan, getting to an average of 70 years old.
It was generally assumed that the last woolly mammoths vanished from Europe and Southern Siberia in around 8,000 BC, with the last of the isolated woolly mammoth populations vanishing from Wrangel Island, located in the Arctic Ocean in around 1700 BC.
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