10 Incredible Woolly Mammoth Facts


The woolly mammoth (Mammuthus primigeniuslisten)) is one of the extinct mammoth species that is about the same size as modern mammoths African Elephants. Woolly mammoths lived through the Pleistocene and Holocene geological epochs until their extinction, meaning they were still around when the first humans emerged on the planet. They were the last of nine species of mammoths.

You’d probably need a winter coat even in the summer if you were out 20,000 years ago when humans co-existed with the now-extinct group of mammoths. Woolly mammoths lived in the Far North at a time when Earth was experiencing an ice age. This was when ice covered large parts of Europe, Asia and North America.

Currently, we still seem to have a deep connection with woolly mammoths, as we do with elephants. We want to see these majestic creatures traversing the northern permafrost again! Their bodies were well preserved in the permafrost, where scientists are now interested in the resurrection of this species, but let’s not get our hopes up!

This article will look at ten incredible facts about the woolly mammoth to help fire your imagination.

1. Woolly mammoth bones were used to build houses

woolly mammoth shelter
Central European Neanderthals used woolly mammoth bones to build houses.


The first companies, like the Neanderthals in central Europe, used woolly mammoth bones to build houses. A mammoth bone dwelling was usually an oval or circular structure with walls heavily stacked with large mammoth bones. The bones were often modified to be implanted deep in the ground, allowing them to be tied together.

The first dwellings of mammoths date from between 14,000 and 20,000 years ago. The oldest was found 30,000 years ago in the Moldova site, a Neanderthal Mousterian occupation located on the Dniester River in Ukraine.

2. Woolly Mammoths and Elephants Have Almost Identical DNA

The big five
An African elephant in Kenya’s national park, with Mount Kilimanjaro in the background. African elephants are the largest animals that walk the earth today.

Volodymyr Burdiak/Shutterstock.com

According scientific reports, woolly mammoths have more genetic similarities to elephants. Woolly mammoths and elephants are thought to have shared a common ancestor that split into separate species around 6 million years ago.

This similarity to elephants is another amazing fact about woolly mammoths. Like elephants, woolly mammoths had similar tusks, gave birth, ate the same food, and lived in similar groups. However, they also had several accolades. The woolly mammoth’s ears were shorter than those of an elephant. Their tusks were also more extensive and much more curled than the tusks of elephants.

3. Woolly mammoths still existed when King Tut ruled the Egyptians

King Tut
Woolly mammoths were still present during the reign of King Tut in Egypt.


Believe it or not, there were still woolly mammoths when King Tut ruled the Egyptians; it was about 3,600 years ago. While other mammoths disappeared around 10,000 years ago, some remained for thousands of years, living on isolated islands – the last woolly mammoth inhabited Wrangel Island off the coast of Russia.

4. Woolly mammoths weren’t the only “woolly animals” in the Pleistocene era

woolly rhinoceros
The woolly rhino coexisted with the woolly mammoths in the Pleistocene.


The woolly rhinoceros (Coelodonta antiquitatis), another extinct species of rhinoceros, coexisted with the woolly mammoth in the Pleistocene epoch. Like woolly mammoths, woolly rhinos were also covered in long, thick hair that helped them survive the freezing weather of the steppe. Both animals disappeared around the same time.

5. Woolly mammoths were smaller than all other mammoth species

3d illustration of prehistoric men hunting a young mammoth
The average woolly mammoth stood about 9.5 feet at the shoulder and weighed about 6 tons.

Esteban De Armas/Shutterstock.com

All mammoths were giants. They were 9 to 11 feet tall and weighed about 5.4 to 13 tons. Steppe Mammoths (Mammuthus trogontherii), which happen to be the largest mammoths, weighed over 8 tons and stood 13 to 15 feet at the shoulder. Compared to all mammoths, woolly mammoths stood about 9.5 feet at the shoulder and weighed about 6 tons, which is roughly the size of modern African elephants.

6. Woolly mammoths were very important to early humans

Primitive caveman
Ancient people relied on woolly mammoths to provide them with an abundance of resources.


Their bond with humans extends beyond that of predator and prey. Ancient peoples used woolly mammoths for almost everything imaginable: food, shelter, tools and art. Woolly mammoth fur was used to make blankets and coats to protect against the cold in freezing environments. Mammoth tusk ivory has been used to create a variety of things, from carvings of animals and humans to arrows and spearheads. A mammoth flute was even discovered in southwest germany.

Early humans contributed significantly to the extinction of the woolly mammoth. Woolly mammoth bones were used to make tools, houses and weapons. A single woolly mammoth could provide a handful of valuable things to a large group of people, which is why a group of early humans followed the herds wherever they went in an attempt to corner and kill one.

seven. The first documented woolly mammoth skeleton was discovered in 1799

In 1799, a hunter discovered a woolly mammoth skeleton buried in permafrost by a river in Siberia.

Created by Morphart/Shutterstock.com

In 1799, a hunter discovered a woolly mammoth skeleton buried in permafrost by a river in Siberia. In 1806, the skeleton was taken to the Zoological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, where they put the parts together.

It was the first time that the Russian Zoological Museum, headed by Wilhelm Gottlieb Tilesius, succeeded in reconstructing the skeleton of an extinct animal, except for one error. Tilesius placed the tusks in the wrong sockets, so they curved outward instead of inward.

8. The woolly mammoth lived in frozen and steppe tundra

woolly mammoths
Woolly mammoths populated the frozen and steppe tundras.

Aunt Spray / Shutterstock.com

Woolly mammoths were comfortable enough to stay in an extremely cold environment. They adapted to the cold and thrived through a series of deeper and deeper ice ages. However, they did not spend all their time in the frozen tundra. They also populated the steppe tundras, extending from northwestern Canada and extending as far west as Europe and as far south as sunny Spain.

9. Global warming contributed to the extinction of the woolly mammoth

In addition to being hunted by humans, woolly mammoths may have suffered from global warming. Habitats changed as temperatures warmed, resulting in shallower lakes, leaving nothing for woolly mammoths to drink. Changes happened so quickly that mammoths could not adapt and evolve.

ten. Scientists Say They Could Bring Back Woolly Mammoths!

Scientists are working to bring back woolly mammoths. They would first have to sequence the woolly mammoth genome, edit the DNA of a living close relative to match it, make the embryos with the edited genome, and then bring them to term in a living surrogate.

In 2021, a team of scientists and entrepreneurs announced that they had already created a new company named Colossal which aims to genetically resurrect the woolly mammoth and place it back in the Siberian tundra.


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