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: a type of large, hairy elephant that lived in ancient times and that had very long tusks that curved upward
: something that is very large
Full Definition of MAMMOTH
: any of a genus (Mammuthus) of extinct Pleistocene mammals of the elephant family distinguished from recent elephants by highly ridged molars, usually large size, very long tusks that curve upward, and well-developed body hair
: something immense of its kind <a mammoth company>
Any of several species (genus Mammuthus) of extinct elephants whose fossils have been found in Pleistocene deposits (2.6 million–11,700 years old) on every continent except Australia and South America. The woolly, Northern, or Siberian mammoth (M. primigenius) is the best-known species because the Siberian permafrost preserved numerous carcasses intact. Most species were about the size of modern elephants; some were much smaller. The North American imperial mammoth (M. imperator) grew to a shoulder height of 14 ft (4 m). Many species had a short, woolly undercoat and a long, coarse outer coat. Mammoths had a high, domelike skull and small ears. Their long, downward-pointing tusks sometimes curved over each other. Cave paintings show them traveling in herds. Mammoths survived until about 10,000 years ago; hunting by humans may have been a cause of their extinction. See alsomastodon.