VICTOR HABBICK VISIONS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY VICTOR HABBICK VISIONS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Woolly mammoth. Computer illustration of a woolly mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius) on snow. The mammoth's thick hairy coat was an adaptation to the cold conditions found on the steppes of Siberia and in much of Europe up until about 10,000 years ago. Its tusks may have been used to clear snow in order to reach the vegetation beneath or to break through ice to reach water to drink. Male mammoths' tusks sometimes reached three metres in length. Woolly mammoths died out as Europe warmed up and forests spread across the steppes. The arrival of human hunters may also have hastened their extinction.
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