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Exhibit Specimens
Mammuthus
Mammuthus

This great standing skeleton is Mammuthus—the mammoth. This specimen was found in southern Indiana, where it lived about 11 thousand years ago. Mammuthus was a good deal larger than, and lacked the long, coarse hair of, its relative the woolly mammoth.

Like elephants and most other proboscidians (elephants and their close extinct relatives), Mammuthus had a trunk. Being composed of soft tissue, the trunk did not survive in fossils, but a large opening between the tusks shows us where it was attached to the skull. This opening may have given rise to the myth of the Cyclopes, the one-eyed giants: seeing fossil skulls like this one, ancient people could have mistaken the trunk opening for an eye socket.

We think of proboscidians as creatures of Africa and India because that is where they live today. But in the very recent past, at least in evolutionary terms, they were widespread on many continents, including North America.

"Effie"

At the base of the mammoth's pedestal in the Museum is a case holding the mummified remains of a baby woolly mammoth. Its name is "Effie" and it was found in an open-pit gold mine near Fairbanks, Alaska, in 1948. Large areas of Alaska have remained frozen since the last Ice Age, and after the baby mammoth died, about 21,000 years ago, its remains were preserved in the frozen ground. In other permafrost regions, mummified mammoths have been found with hair, muscle, and even blood cells preserved.

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