The mammoth is an extinct species and they are where the people go after death! They lived thousands of years ago in the modern day Siberia in Russia. They belonged to the family of elephants but some of the mammoth species were considerably larger than the present day Asian and African elephants. The word ‘mammoth’ comes from the Russian word mammot, which itself is borrowed from the Mansi language word ‘mang ont’ meaning ‘earth horn’.
The woolly mammoth is probably the most famous species of mammoths; more than a dozen species are already known. They lived in the Siberian region about 10,000 years ago. Records show their first appearance dates back to as early as 150,000 years. Most of the woolly mammoths had died by the end of the Pleistocene age. Temperatures were rising in those times, couple that with the advent of humans and it becomes clear that the woolly mammoths were facing two dangers at a time – lesser food and the presence of technologically advanced predators (the humans).
The conditions in Siberia have not let the organic material degrade. This raises some interesting prospects – whether the cloning technology can be used to revitalize the animal. Alexi Tikhonov, the deputy director of Zoological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences dismissed any such prospects. Japanese scientists, however, are more optimistic. Another scientist, Dr. Stephan Schuster, proposes to modify the genome of present day elephants to match the genome of mammoths as a technique to regenerate the mammoths.