Q:

Why did the woolly mammoth become extinct?

A:

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.

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Full Answer

Woolly mammoths mostly became extinct at the end of the last ice age, about 10,000 years ago. However, one population of woolly mammoths survived in Alaska up until 3750 B.C. There was also a population at a remote location on an island in the Arctic Ocean that survived until 1700 B.C. The exact reason they died out is a mystery, though disease is one theory. Another is that the ancestors of humans hunted them to extinction. Then there is the theory that a mega-storm wiped out the woolly mammoth population in one fell swoop.

Another theory for extinction that is gaining ground is that climate change ultimately caused woolly mammoths to die out. These animals were especially adapted to the cold during the last ice age, with their thick, shaggy pelts, layers of underwool and humps with fat deposits. However, warming decimated the population. Besides their thick coats, woolly mammoths are also known for their large size and long, curved tusks.

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