The last of the mammoths survived in Alaska about 10,000 years ago. No definite reason has been attributed to the demise of the mammoths, though several factors, such as climate change, the arrival of humans and even meteorological events, are being studied and linked with the extinction of the large herbivorous mammals.
Mammoths are relatives of elephants and are believed to have thrived during the Pleistocene Period about 1.8 millions years ago. Because mammoths are adapted to colder climate, many scientists believe that the woolly giants began to dwindle after the Ice Age. The changing environment and conditions probably thinned out the vegetation, which might cause the animals to suffer from lack of essential food supply.
Scientists also believe that the arrival and intervention of humans played in the extinction of mammoths. There is anthropological evidence that humans hunted mammoths for their skin, meat and bones. Contact with humans, who explored new territories and dominated the animals' natural habitat, as well as climate change, could have led to the demise of the mammoths.
A research study in 2007 led scientists to speculate on the possibility that mammoths in North America were probably wiped out by a meteor or comet that hit the Earth thousands of years ago. Some scientists argue that a large asteroid might have caused the Younger Dryas Period, a short-lived cold snap some 10,000 years ago. The after-effects of the period caused extreme weather imbalances in Europe and North America, which might have also driven the mammoths to extinction.Learn More
According to Discovery, there are many theories as to why the woolly mammoth became extinct, from disease and hunting to some sort of natural catastrophe. However, evidence has come to light that climate change may have been the real culprit.Full Answer >
An extinct volcano is one that has not erupted in at least 10,000 years and is not expected to erupt in the future, according to Oregon State University. There can be confusion between dormant and extinct volcanoes, but the difference between the two is that a dormant volcano may erupt even if it is in the distant future.Full Answer >
The Jarkov mammoth, frozen solid in Siberian permafrost, was found in 1997 and removed to an ice cave for thawing and study. Scientists hoped the specimen would yield living cells for cloning experiments. As of Aug. 2014, cells and DNA recovered from the specimen have not proven suitable for cloning.Full Answer >
Homo sapiens first appear in the fossil record about 200,000 years ago. These early humans were opportunistic omnivores who consumed a variety of foods, including both plants and animals. Prior to this time, ancestral hominid species are thought to have consumed fruit, leaves, bark, insects, root vegetables and meat.Full Answer >