The woolly mammoth was roughly the same size as modern African elephants. Males reached shoulder heights between 9 ft - 11 ft and weighed up to 6 tons. Females averaged 8 ft – 9 ft in height. A newborn calf weighed about 200 lbs. The woolly mammoth was well adapted to the cold environment during the last ice age. The ears and tail were short to minimise frostbite and heat loss. It had long, curved tusks and four molars, which were replaced six times during the lifetime of an individual. Specimens could probably reach the age of 60. Its habitat was the mammoth steppe, which stretched across northern Eurasia and North America.
The woolly mammoth coexisted with early humans, who used its bones and tusks for making art, tools, and dwellings, and the species was also hunted for food. It disappeared from its mainland range at the end of the Pleistocene 10,000 years ago, most likely through a combination of climate change, consequent disappearance of its habitat, and hunting by humans, though the significance of these factors is disputed.
Woolly mammoths had four functional molar teeth at a time, two in the upper jaw and two in the lower. 9" of the crown was within the jaw, and 1" was above. The crown was continually pushed forwards and up as it wore down, comparable to a conveyor belt. The teeth had up to 26 separated ridges of enamel, which were themselves covered in "prisms" that were directed towards the chewing surface. These were quite wear resistant and kept together by cementum and dentine. A mammoth had six sets of molars throughout a lifetime, which were replaced five times, though a few specimens with a seventh set are known. The latter condition could extend the lifespan of the individual, unless the tooth only consisted of a few plates. The molars grew larger and contained more ridges with each replacement. Distortion in the molars is the most common health problem found in woolly mammoth fossils. Sometimes the replacement was disrupted, and the molars were pushed into abnormal positions, but some animals are known to have survived this.
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