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Mammoths

Woolly mammoth

Mammoths with Cro Magnon men from a scene in "Walking with Beasts"

The mighty Mammoths roamed these plains during the summer months, fattening up on the grass. (They shared these plains with European bison and antelope like the Saiga antelopes that have a broad nose which seems like an adaptation to the cold, warming the air before they inhale it. (36)) The mammoths were the biggest grass eaters of the time in that part of the world. In autumn they migrated south towards the valleys of the Alps for some protection against the long cold winter months. Here, in the valleys with forests for protection they would reside until the next spring. They were built for the cold, with woolly shaggy coats growing up to 50 centimeters long in winter and a fat layer of up to ten centimeters thick. They also had special gland that secreted greasy oil into their hair that gave them extra insulation. Their ears were smaller and their tails shorter than their African cousins as they needed to conserve as much heat as possible. During winter they would eat the leaves of spruce trees and other deciduous trees.

Their family structure was much the same as the African elephants, with a matriarch leading a herd of females with their young. Adolescent males would form bachelor herds, with the older males becoming solitary. The males had spectacular curved tusks. (These were used by Cro-Magnon man to build huts for protection.) Many mammoth bones have been found from Ireland across Eurasia up to the West Coast of North America. Even some well preserved frozen mammoths have been found in the permafrost of Siberia and Alaska. This gives us a perfect record of how they looked and what they ate. Many drawings and carvings made by man also give us clues to how they lived. (37)