JOE TUCCIARONE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JOE TUCCIARONE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Mammoth. Artwork of a mammoth (Mammuthus sp.) at night below an auroral glow (pink) in the northern skies. The mammoth was a large mammal adapted to the cold conditions of the Pleistocene Ice Age of some 2 million years ago. It ranged across North America, Europe and Asia. Its tusks could exceed 3 metres in length. Closely related to the elephant, it is depicted in cave drawings being hunted by early humans. The large mammoths went extinct some 10,000 years ago with the retreat of the glaciers. Human predation is thought to have hastened their end. An aurora is caused by charged particles from the Sun (channelled to the poles by the Earth's magnetic field) colliding with the atmosphere.
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