(genus Mammuthus), any member of an extinct class of elephants
found as fossils in Pleistocene deposits over every continent except
Australia and South America (the Pleistocene epoch began 1,600,000
years ago and ended 10,000 years ago). The woolly, Northern, or
Siberian mammoth (M. primigenius) is by far the best-known of
all mammoths. The relative abundance and, at times, excellent
preservation of this species' carcasses found in the permanently
frozen ground of Siberia has provided much information about mammoths'
structure and habits. Fossil mammoth ivory was previously so abundant
that it was exported from Siberia to China and Europe from medieval
significantly in the art of primitive man; cave dwellers in Europe
realistically depicted herds of these animals. Mammoths were sometimes
trapped in ice crevasses and covered over; they were frozen, and their
bodies were remarkably well preserved. In fact, cases have been
reported in which sled dogs actually were fed the meat from frozen
mammoth carcasses that had begun to thaw out of the ice that had held
them for almost 30,000 years.
"mammoth" Encyclopędia Britannica
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