The woolly mammoth was the biggest animal on the Mammoth steppe – it was the king in the wide-ranging grassland. A four meter tall, longhaired elephant with giant tusks. It was common in the ice age and has had a strong presence on the Mammoth steppe and probably also in the lives of the ice age humans’. Man hunted them, ate them, and painted them.

Big tusks

The big molars functioned like in other elephants as a millstone that could crush and cut the plant food. This way, the mammoths could use the rough grass on the steppe. Signs of wear show that the giant almost spirally tusks probably was used as snow plows to remove the snow from the plants.

Extinct, but still a research subject.

The last woolly mammoths became extinct on Wrangel Island merely 3,700 years ago. They had survived on the island 6000 years longer than on the mainland. Even though the mammoth – like other ice age animals – is extinct we can still learn a lot about it.

In Siberia and Alaska there are still lots of dead, frozen mammoths in the ground. There are plenty of possibilities to gather blood samples, stomach content, bowel content and even whole organs from the animals. This gives information about what the mammoths ate, how they digested the food and much more. They can even find their genetic material, the DNA. Certainly one day we will be able to recreate a mammoth from this DNA.

Maybe you can get to meet a mammoth! The important question is if we should – because where would it live? It no longer have 20 million square kilometre of Mammoth steppe at its disposal.


The big animals that lived on the Mammoth steppe and on the rest of the continents are called megafauna. Today, they are almost all extinct. Researchers try to figure out the reasons for their disappearance. There are two theories: either the climate or man.

Mammoth findings

There are more than 140 Danish findings of mammoth, which disappeared approximately 16,000 years ago. They are predominantly found in moraine and  melt water sediments. Often it is molars and tusks that are found but there are also found some boneparts .

One of the best findings of mammoth in Denmark is a 126 cm long tusk fra Hedehusene on Zealand. The finding has not been dated.

Living mammoths?