“Woolly Mammoth” Print
A frosty and hairy prehistoric creature from long ago!
Outside of dinosaurs and the dodo, the woolly mammoth is probably the most famous extinct animal. I think a large part of it is their relative familiarity mixed with their strange appearance – they were of similar size and build to modern elephants who roam the plans of Africa and the forests of Asia. But they lived in a complete opposite climate (in North American during the last ice age) and were thus covered with a thick and coarse coat of fur. Unlike dinosaurs, humans co-existed with these great beasts (including images of them in early cave paintings), and there was still a small population of them still alive when the Great Pyramids of Egypt were built. They were so recent in our history that we’ve found multiple remains with well-preserved hair and flesh. There is talk of even cloning them, and it’s entirely possible they may walk the Earth again.
There’s a wistful and forlorn quality to these animals because of their relatively recent extinction. Much like a neighbor you once had that passed on, the mammoths no longer share the planet with us but we have fresh memories of them. It’s interesting that science may yield a way to being them back, and such an effort would be fraught with all sorts of technical, legal, and ethical concerns. Peering at these creatures is a strange window into our own youth as a species. Early humans hunted them for their meat and used their great tusks to build shelter huts. They provided for us and helped us survive as a species, and regardless of whether modern invention can (or should) resurrect them again, we should not forget them.