Credit: Wikipedia Commons
It’s the ice-age icon — the multi-ton, tusk-swinging woolly mammoth — an intelligent hair-covered beastie that roamed a prehistoric steppe that stretched from Europe across Siberia to Alaska.
The last of the mammoths disappeared from the Far North about 10,000 years ago. Sorting out the causes of mammoth extinctions, along with the disappearance of a menagerie of other fabulous ice-age mammals — has long been one of paleontology’s hottest controversies.
Were they wiped out by human hunters that trudged out of Siberia and crossed the Bering Land Bridge? Or did a slow shift in climate alter what Dale Guthrie at the Univesity of Alaska Fairbanks has called “the mammoth steppe,” leaving them with less to eat and soggier ground?