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Mammuthus primigenius, or the woolly mammoth, is an extinct species of Proboscidea and is a little larger than modern African elephants (3.5 tonnes). They were sexually dimorphic, which means that they had morphological differences between the sexes. Adult males were about 2.5 - 3.5 m (9 - 11 ft) at the shoulder and could weigh up to 6.6 tonnes. Adult females were a bit smaller and averaged 2.5 - 3 m (8.5 - 9.5 ft) high at the shoulder and could reach 4.4 tonnes. The remains of this fossil elephant are unrivaled and we have mummified examples of the animals that have been entombed within the permafrost of Siberia and North America. Because of this, we know that a newborn M. primigenius calf is about 200 pounds (90 kilograms) and because we have hide and soft tissues preserved, we possess direct evidence that the woolly mammoth was well adapted to the cold environments that it roamed (Hofreiter & Lister, 2006).

The fur can vary in appearance from a reddish-orange to black, it is not known whether this is the result of natural variation within a population or some taphonomic process. The soft tissue extremities (such as tails and ears) were highly reduced, when compared to the modern elephant. This feature was an adaptation to conserve precious body heat and prevent cold related injury (Hofreiter & Lister, 2006).

M. primigenius had high-crowned teeth packed with numerous enamel ridges that helped them process the tough, grassy vegetation. It was a non-ruminant herbivore with a diet that was high in fiber and low in protein (Guthrie, 2001).

It has large, bowed tusks that can weigh roughly 80 kg and were present in both males and females (Hofreiter & Lister, 2006). 


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