Fossil of Wooly Mammoth
Treasure under the Ice Plains
The genus name of wooly mammoth, Mammuthus, originated from the ancient Russian word, mammut, that means underground things, because all the wooly mammoths were half buried in the soil when discovered. The body shape of a wooly mammoth resembles that of the modern African elephant, but it is fully covered with long hair, featuring a highly erect front head, curly coiled incisors, and numerous dense molars. It is a herbivorous animal.
The ancestors of wooly mammoth appeared in Africa around 4 million years ago, and then slowly migrated to Europe and Asia everywhere. About 1.8 million years ago, they crossed the Bering Strait to North America. There are many species of Mammuthus including the northern type in the frigid zone and the southern type in the temperate zone. The northern-type mammoth is much larger, some of which could reach a shoulder height of more than 4.5 meters, while the southern-type one is smaller, such as Taiwan mammoth whose shoulder height might be only 3 meters. In the late Pleistocene, Asian elephant, African elephant and mammoth had coexisted at the same time. However, the mammoth had mysteriously disappeared from the Earth and become extinct in the end of the final ice age around 11000 years ago.
The fossil specimens of the wooly mammoth at the National Taiwan Museum came from the Sakha Republic, Russian Federation, in the northern Siberia. It has been pieced together from different bodies.