Columbian mammoth trapped in asphalt at La Brea Tar Pits in California

Columbian mammoth

Columbian mammoths had impressive, spiralled tusks that measured up to 4.9m, making them world record holders amongst the elephant family. There is some debate as to how hairy Columbian mammoths were and some scientists suggest that they had a full fur coat, like the woolly mammoth's. It is more likely that hair grew more extensively on some parts of the body, such as the top of the head, but that they were basically elephant-like with exposed greyish skin. Columbian mammoths ranged through the southern half of North America and south into Mexico before becoming extinct approximately 12,500 years ago.

Scientific name: Mammuthus columbi

Rank: Species

Watch video clips from past programmes (5 clips)

In order to see this content you need to have an up-to-date version of Flash installed and Javascript turned on.

Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web

When they lived

Discover the other animals and plants that lived during the following geological time periods.

Pleistocene epoch Pleistocene epoch
During the Pleistocene, glaciers came and went, resulting in a series of ice ages punctuated by warmer periods. There were at least 20 cycles of this advance and retreat.

What their world was like

Ice age Ice age
The last ice age hasn't ended, the climate has just warmed up a bit causing the ice sheets to retreat. When the ice was more extensive, our climate was very different.