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FOSSIL

Woolly Mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius)

This well known mammoth of the Ice Age roamed the northern plains for most of the last 2 million years until about 10,000 years ago. No one knows why they died out. One theory is that there may not have been enough food to support them. Their predators, including early man, would not have been plentiful or needy enough to hunt them to extinction. Those found to date appear to have been buried by avalanches or to have gotten trapped in swamps or soft soil. Alaska gold miners sometimes wash mammoth teeth and tusks out of hillsides and streambeds. Visitors can touch a mammoth tooth on display at the University of Alaska Museum in Fairbanks. Around 9 feet high, the mammoth was primarily brown in color. It used its ivory tusks to scrape away snow and ice on the low tundra vegetation comprising its diet. Alaska chose the mammoth in 1986.