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Mammoth

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Mammoth
Stuffed mammoth.jpg
Scientific Classification
Species

MammothSkull.jpg

The mammoth is an extinct form of elephant. There are three different types of mammoths whose skeletons have been found in North America. The woolly mammoth (M. primigenius), the Columbian mammoth (M. columbi), and Jefferson's mammoth (M. jeffersonii). They are about the same size as modern day elephants, contrary to the common belief that they are much larger. However their tusks could get up to about 16 feet long. They reproduced sexually, giving birth to one young at a time, and lived to be about 60 years old. They were strictly herbivores and ate mainly grass. Mammoths have very special teeth that God designed specifically for eating grass.

Contents

Anatomy

A mammoth skeleton on display in Taiwan National History Museum, Taipei.

People often think of mammoths as huge, giant beasts, who are much larger than modern elephants. [1] However, this is a very wrong presumption. Actually, they were about the same size as today's elephants. A full grown mammoth would weigh about 6-8 tons (between 5500 and 7300 kilograms) and grow about 10-12 feet(between 3 and 3.7 meters) tall. Mammoths adapted quite well to their surroundings, especially those living in freezing tundras. The most obvious adaptation is the extremely thick coat of shaggy hair. They even had a flap of skin covered by fur protecting the anus from the cold. Their skin had exactly the same thickness as today's elephants. However, they had special glands called sebaceous glands, which would release greasy fat into the hair, improving the insulation. Beneath the skin, they had a layer of fat up to 3 inches thick, which aided in warmth. Unlike modern elephants, mammoths had extremely long tusks. The tusks could attain a length of 16 feet, and had a definite curve to their shape. One guess as to why this adaptation occurred is that the mammoths may have used their tusks to clear snow off the ground so that they could reach the grass below. [2]

Mammoth Teeth

Mammoth teeth.

The teeth of a mammoth are very different than almost any other creature on earth. Compressed enamel plates which are held together with cementum, make up the main composition of the teeth. The end result is an extremely strong, tall, and weather resistant eating tool. From the gum cavity, a tooth will emerge, which the animal will use to grind rough and coarse vegetation, such as grass. This oral exercise results in low enamel ridges where the plates have been worn, and a flat top. Most of the resistance of wear on theses teeth is credited to their unusual height. This is excellent because mammoths mainly feast on grass, and grass is a very tough material to eat. There is a "glass-like" substance in its leaves known as silica. To a much less resistant tooth, it would be like eating sandpaper grit, which would cause the tooth to wear away very quickly. [3]

Reproduction

It is said that mammoths mated and reproduced almost identically as that of modern day elephants. The gestation period is guessed to be about 22 months. They would only have one baby at a time, and in some cases only one baby in their whole life. It would take about 10-12 years to reach sexual maturity. Their average lifespan was about 60 years long. [4] Despite initial assumptions that the two genera of mammoths could not interbreed, Wooly and Columbian mammoths interbred.[1]

Ecology

According to some scientists, there were three different species of mammoths that lived in North America at the time of the last Ice Age. These included the woolly mammoth (M. primigenius), the Columbian mammoth (M. columbi), and Jefferson's mammoth (M. jeffersonii). The midwestern United States is the site of where the woolly mammoth and the Jefferson's mammoth have been identified. Grasslands, savannas, and tundras (during the last Ice Age) are the prime locations of finding the fossils of these great mammals. The first of these animals to come to America journeyed from Eurasia, perhaps from crossing the Bering Strait (at that time, sea level was much lower than it is currently), and sometime later, they all became extinct (possibly from over hunting and/or climate change). Mammoths are guessed to have been herbivores eating mainly grass. [5]

Species

The Mammoth is divided in 9 known species, they are:

Gallery

References

  1. Oard, Michael J (2012). "Woolly and Columbian Mammoths Likely the Same Species". Journal of Creation 26 (2): 12-13. ISSN 1036-2916. 

Related References

Secular References

Creationist References

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