The first mammoths on our planet appeared about 4-5 million years ago. Initially, they lived in the territory of modern Africa, but, gradually, they spread throughout the Northern Hemisphere. But they became extinct about 10, 000 years ago, although some population of these animals was found on Wrangel Island 4, 000 years ago.
Judging by the remains of mammoths, the height of these giants exceeded 5 meters, and their body weight reached 12 tons. The tusks of an adult mammoth could be up to 4 meters long. In such a threatening form, the animals were harmless and ate exclusively plant foods. The mammoths' teeth resembled a grater and were able to grind even the roughest food. An adult mammoth ate up to 300-400 kg per day. vegetable food.
There is an assumption that the name of the animal comes from the Mansi "mang ont", which, translated into Russian, means "earth horn". By the way, this name has passed into many other languages of the world. For example, "mammoth" in English is mammoth, and in French it is mammouth.
The most famous type of mammoth was woolly, although there were several dozen species of this animal in total. True, no other species of mammoths had such a wide distribution area as woolly.
Woolly mammoths lived in harsh northern conditions, therefore, their body was protected by thick hair and a layer of subcutaneous fat up to 10 centimeters thick.
At the beginning of the 19th century, the Russian merchant and traveler Yakov Sannikov discovered on the Lyakhovsky Novosibirsk ones)
The islands have a huge number of mammoth bones and tusks. He took out more than 250 poods of tusks alone.
Interestingly, mammoth tusks are still highly valued by bone carvers. Over the thousands of years spent underground, tusks have acquired a wide variety of shades. They are used to make boxes, chess, figurines and other decorations. Before the revolution, the export of mammoth tusks brought a good income to the treasury of the Russian Empire.
Why did mammoths disappear from the face of the Earth? In part, our ancestors are to blame, for whom the mammoth was a desirable prey. A man used for his own purposes not only meat and skins, but also tusks with bones. But, it's not just about uncontrolled hunting. The warming that followed the Ice Age made the planet unsuitable for mammoths: the cold tundra turned into a swampy area, it became difficult for huge animals to find food for themselves.
True, the American scientist Ross McPhee does not agree with this statement. In his opinion, mammoths fell victim to some kind of terrible epidemic that destroyed the entire species. On Wrangel Island, where mammoths have survived the longest, McPhee collects animal bones to be analyzed in laboratories. Perhaps in this way it will be possible to establish the real reason for the disappearance of mammoths?
There is a legend that the army of Ataman Yermak, during the conquest of Siberia in the 16th century, met huge shaggy elephants in the taiga. True or fiction - remains a mystery.