Columbian Mammoth

Columbian Mammoth (Mammuthus columbi)

  • Height:  Up to 14 ft 
  • Weight: Up to 22,000 Pounds  
  • Closest Living Relative: Asian Elephant 
  • Status: Extinct 11,000 years ago due to changing habitats and possible human hunting.


One of the larger species of mammoth, the Columbian Mammoth was massive. It had large, twisted tusks that could get to 16 ft in length. The Columbian Mammoth had thick fur but not as thick as the Wooly Mammoth, because it generally lived in warmer climates.  
The Columbian Mammoth was an herbivore, primarily a grazer, eating mostly grasses, along with leaves and flowers and some twigs. Their teeth were flat, with small ridges like a file, allowing them to grind up the leaves and grasses.  It is expected that these mammoths had to spend most of their day (16-18 hours) eating to consume enough calories, close to 150,000 calories a day! (That’s the calorie intake an adult human needs in two months!)
Mammoths are expected to have lived in herds like elephants do today because of the high number of fossil sites found with multiple mammoths present. It’s believed that the herds were matriarchal, meaning led by females. Mammoths could live up to 70 years.  Ages are determined by tooth wear. It is expected that males would leave the herd at the age of 12.  They also used their tusks to dig up and expose grasses. 
Distribution and Habitat
Columbian mammoths are known to have existed between the northern United States and Mexico, maybe even as far south as Costa Rica. Columbian Mammoths were adapted to live in grasslands and savannas, areas with consistent presence of grasses on which they could feed. 

Fun Fact

  • The Columbian Mammoth was not adapted for cold weather...
    A lot of people know the Wooly Mammoth from the animated Ice Age movies. And, while these two mammoths were similar, the Columbian Mammoth had much less fur and was much larger than the Wooly Mammoth.