Published on August 10, 2014
PowerPoint Presentation: ADVERB GROUP 2 ICE AGE GIANTS: ICE AGE GIANTS PowerPoint Presentation: A mammoth is any species of the extinct genus Mammuthus , proboscideans commonly equipped with long, curved tusks and, in northern species, a covering of long hair . They lived from the Pliocene epoch (from around 5 million years ago) into the Holocene at about 4,500 years ago   in Africa, Europe, Asia, and North America. They were members of the family Elephantidae which contains, along with mammoths, the two genera of modern elephants and their ancestors. PowerPoint Presentation: Woolly mammoths are symbolic of the ice age because of their large size (about 3 m high at the shoulders; 10 ft.), broad circumpolar geographic distribution, relative abundance during the last glaciation and adaptation to cold environments. A great deal is known about the appearance of these hairy elephants as a result of the discovery of several well-preserved carcasses in frozen ground in Siberia and Alaska, and from depictions in European Paleolithic cave art. The woolly mammoth had large (up to 4 m; 13 ft.), curved ivory tusks, a high domed head and sloping back. Their coats were similar to those of muskoxen ( Ovibos moschatus ), consisting of long (up to 90 cm; 35 in.), dark guard hairs and fine underwool . Under the coat was an insulating layer of fat up to 9 cm (3.5 in.) thick. Their : compressed enamel plates that make excellent grinding mills for the relatively tough, dry grasses on which these animals commonly fed. These mammoths roamed the northern tundra and cool steppe grasslands of Eurasia and North America during the Late Pleistocene Epoch . One of the best Canadian specimens is a nearly complete skeleton of an adult female from Whitestone River, Yukon. It died there about 30 000 years ago, according to a radiocarbon date, and was located by following up a legend related by a native elder in the settlement of Old Crow. Woolly mammoth tracks are clearly recorded in 11 000-year-old sediments at a site near Cardston , Alberta. They yield information on both herd structure and behaviour of these extinct elephants. Woolly mammoths could not cope with the rapidly changing environment and increasing human predation toward the close of the last glaciation , and most became extinct about 11 000 years ago. However, some survived as late as 3700 years ago on Wrangel Island off the northeastern coast of cheek teeth were massive, and comprised a large series of Siberia. Life of the Mammoth: Life of the Mammoth MAMMOTHS ARE GREAT DEFFENDER: MAMMOTHS ARE GREAT DEFFENDER Adult woolly mammoths could effectively defend themselves from predators with their tusks, trunks and size, but juveniles and weakened adults were vulnerable to pack hunters such as wolves , cave hyenas and large felines . The tusks may also have been used in intra-species fighting, such as territorial fights or fights over mates. Because of their curvature, the tusks were not suitable for stabbing, but may have been used for hitting, as indicated by injuries to some fossil shoulder blades. As in modern elephants, the sensitive and muscular trunk worked as a limb-like organ with many functions. It was used for manipulating objects, and in social interactions. The very long hairs on the tail probably compensated for the shortness of the tail, enabling its use as a flyswatter , similar to the tail on modern elephants.  As in reindeer and musk oxen , the haemoglobin of the woolly mammoth was adapted to the cold, with three mutations to improve oxygen delivery around the body and prevent freezing. This feature may have helped the mammoths to live in high latitudes.  PowerPoint Presentation: Like modern elephants, woolly mammoths were likely very social and lived in matriarchal family groups. This is supported by fossil assemblages and cave paintings showing groups. It is therefore probable that most of their other social behaviour was similar to those of modern elephants. Accumulations of modern elephant remains have been termed " elephants' graveyards ", as these sites were erroneously thought to be where old elephants went to die. Similar accumulations of woolly mammoth bones have been found; it is thought these are the result of individuals dying near or in the rivers over thousands of years, and their bones eventually being brought together by the streams, or due to animals being mired in mud. Some accumulations are also thought to be the remains of herds that died together at the same time, perhaps due to flooding.  WHY DID THE WOOLLY MAMMOTH DIE OUT: WHY DID THE WOOLLY MAMMOTH DIE OUT Woolly mammoth’s roamed the Earth tens of thousands of years ago, leading lives similar – but colder - to modern-day elephants, of whom the Asian Elephant is the closest living descendant. The woolly mammoth was a commonly found animal during the last ice age, if the fossil record is to be believed. Mammoth fossils have been discovered on every continent except Australia and South America. Mammoths were similar in size to elephants, but had adapted individual PowerPoint Presentation: characteristics to live in the extreme cold weather of the ice age. Mammoths had narrower skulls, smaller ears and shorter tails and perhaps the obvious difference between them and elephants was that woolly mammoths were covered in a full coat of hair. Surviving in the cold, dry tundra of the ice age, woolly mammoths were well adapted to their environment, using their PowerPoint Presentation: large tusks to brush away snow as they looked for food and secreting oil that covered their fur, insulating them further from the cold. But then, 10,000 years or so ago their numbers began to dwindle before eventually becoming extinct 4,000 years ago. But what really led to the disappearance of these large herbivores from the planet? We take a look at the evidence and try to decipher what was the real cause of their demise.