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National Park Service White Sands U.S. Department of the Interior

White Sands National Monument Columbian

Columbian Mammoth / Mammuthus columbi (NPS Photo) ammoths are one of the most well-known prehistoric . To many people, these giant, furry Mancestors of the practically embody the . But did you know there was more than one kind of mammoth? In fact, during the , entire continent. Its range stretched sites suggest. Both and several types of mammoths walked from Canada all the way down to also share similar ridged the earth at one time or another. Nicaragua and Honduras. teeth, good for chewing plants. These Some of these mammoths even made teeth grow in sets, with more sets of their way through White Sands, One of the largest mammoths of its teeth growing in as the elephant or back when this area was a large lake time, the stood mammoth ages. From this scientists called Lake Otero. Their footprints up to 14 feet (over four meters) tall have estimated the Columbian now make up part of our Pleistocene at the shoulder, 13 to 15 feet (4-4.5 mammoth could live up to 70 or 80 trackway. The mammoths here meters) long, and possibly weighed- old. The ridged teeth also fit at White Sands were Columbian in at a massive 18,000 to 22,000 with the mammoth’s diet, which mammoths. pounds (8,000-10,000 kilograms)! It appears to have been grasses, sedges, also boasted large up to 16 feet and brush with some trees and woody The Columbian mammoth (almost five meters) long. Other than plants. Like modern elephants, (Mammuthus columbi) first showed size, the major difference between the mammoths would have had to eat up in North America about one two mammoths was . While the a lot of this food each day to fuel million years ago. It evolved from was named for its their enormous bodies. Columbian an earlier mammoth that thick coat, the Columbian mammoth mammoths likely spent up to 16 to had crossed into North America probably did not have much hair. Its 18 hours a day eating, consuming up early in the Pleistocene epoch. home in North America was generally to 150,000 calories and hundreds of Just who exactly this ancestor was warmer than the woolly mammoth’s pounds a food each day! is still debated; different sources homeland of , so it did not report southern, imperial, or need as much hair to stay warm. mammoths as the possible culprit. Regardless of its family history, The Columbian mammoth did the Columbian mammoth quickly share some similarities with modern established itself in North America, elephants. They may have lived in migrating throughout almost the herds like elephants, as some

Revised 09/5/2016