Mammoth Extinction

Mammoth Extinction A lifesize model of a Woolly Mammoth in the Brno museum, Anthropos.
Photo Credit: HTO, via Wikimedia Commons


In this lesson, you will learn about why the woolly mammoth became extinct. Woolly mammoths died out in a puzzling extinction event during the late Quaternary period. This extinction event also wiped out a large number of other large mammal species, including the sabre-toothed tiger and the Irish giant deer. In August of 1998, a research team from the American Museum of Natural History, led by Ross MacPhee, chairman of the Museum's Department of Mammalogy, traveled to the Arctic Circle. There, they conducted an 18-day expedition, hunting for mammoth bones and teeth in the soggy tundra. The website used in this lesson is a record of the expedition, and it also poses questions and possible answers about why the woolly mammoth died out.


To begin, go to the Introduction of the What Killed the Mammoths? resource from the American Museum of Natural History. Once you've read this resource, your teacher will discuss it with you.

Now, explore these resources:

As you explore the resources, think about why species might become extinct, as well as how researchers look for evidence to support their hypotheses and theories. Use the Mammoth Extinction student sheet to answer questions about the resources as you read.

Knowledge Check

Read What Dies Out and Why? In a brief essay, discuss some of the reasons for extinctions posed in the article. Apply the ideas and theories in the article to the extinction of the mammoths. What killed the mammoths? You can re-read the introduction to What Killed the Mammoths?, on the American Museum of Natural History site, to learn more about this question.

If you want more information, visit The Mammoth Site for pictures, educational activities, research data, and so on.

This esheet is a part of the Mammoth Extinction lesson.

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Esheet Details