Talk:Woolly mammoth

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Featured article Woolly mammoth is a featured article; it (or a previous version of it) has been identified as one of the best articles produced by the Wikipedia community. Even so, if you can update or improve it, please do so.
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March 18, 2013 Good article nominee Listed
May 26, 2013 Featured article candidate Promoted
Current status: Featured article

Skeleton or life reconstruction in the taxobox?[edit]

I'm a bit uncertain about this. On one hand, no complete frozen adult specimens are known, making all modern reconstructions partially guesswork and probably erroneous to some extend, so the safest and most reliable would be to have a mounted skeleton in the taxobox. On the other hand, due to cave art and these frozen specimens, the life appearance of this species is probably the best known of any extinct prehistoric animal, though the woolly rhino comes close. Any thoughts? FunkMonk (talk) 12:23, 25 November 2012 (UTC)

If any of the reconstructions currently available in Commons are not enough accurate (bad shape of ears, colour of hair too reddish, wrong orientation of tusks, etc.) or with an appropiate size, the logical solution is leave the image of a skeleton. --Rextron (talk) 03:10, 16 March 2013 (UTC)
It seems most restorations make the ears too big, as the shape and size of the adult ear was only recently known[1], so I'll just keep the skeleton. The model under description actually isn't too bad, even though it was made in the 1970s. FunkMonk (talk) 03:19, 16 March 2013 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:Woolly mammoth/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Reviewer: Chiswick Chap (talk · contribs) 08:44, 14 March 2013 (UTC)

Rate Attribute Review Comment
1. Well written:
1a. the prose is clear and concise, and the spelling and grammar are correct. Prose: done some ce; Copyright OK; Spelling OK; Grammar OK
1b. it complies with the manual of style guidelines for lead sections, layout, words to watch, fiction, and list incorporation. lead:OK; layout:OK; weasel:OK (there are some reasonable "probably"s); fiction:n/a; lists:n/a
2. Verifiable with no original research:
2a. it contains a list of all references (sources of information), presented in accordance with the layout style guideline. Please dress all naked "http://" links with relevant citation data.
2b. all in-line citations are from reliable sources, including those for direct quotations, statistics, published opinion, counter-intuitive or controversial statements that are challenged or likely to be challenged, and contentious material relating to living persons—science-based articles should follow the scientific citation guidelines. OK
2c. it contains no original research. OK
3. Broad in its coverage:
3a. it addresses the main aspects of the topic. OK
3b. it stays focused on the topic without going into unnecessary detail (see summary style). OK
4. Neutral: it represents viewpoints fairly and without editorial bias, giving due weight to each. OK
5. Stable: it does not change significantly from day to day because of an ongoing edit war or content dispute. OK
6. Illustrated, if possible, by images:
6a. images are tagged with their copyright status, and valid fair use rationales are provided for non-free content. OK
6b. images are relevant to the topic, and have suitable captions. Well-chosen images.
7. Overall assessment. Article is now clear, interesting, and well cited. Good work, everyone who helped.

Questions (from GA reviewer)[edit]

  • How did a land bridge act as a barrier? Chiswick Chap (talk) 09:50, 14 March 2013 (UTC)
Removed, it was due to the mesic habitat there, but it does not seem to have affected the mammoths. FunkMonk (talk) 05:11, 15 March 2013 (UTC)
  • How do the teeth of "Lyuba" indicate the length of gestation?
I will clarify this. FunkMonk (talk) 04:53, 15 March 2013 (UTC)
BTW ""Lyuba" is believed to have suffocated by inhaling mud as she struggled while bogged down in deep mud in the bed of a river which its herd was crossing." isn't wrong but it lurches from one clause to another (6 verb clauses, 3 prepositional). Please simplify or split.
Shortened. FunkMonk (talk) 22:33, 15 March 2013 (UTC)
  • Why are two maps needed?
One shows the distribution of woolly mammoths, the other shows the distribution of specific habitats, including the "mammoth steppe". But I can remove the second one, if necessary. FunkMonk (talk) 02:15, 15 March 2013 (UTC)
This Manta Ray map is wonderfully clear.
OK, then the 2nd map's caption should say "Distribution of Mammoth steppe (orange [or whatever, I can't see it]) at last Ice Age maximum". The map may well need simplifying - ideally it would be all blank drab continents, white ice, and bright coloured only for Mammoth steppe.
It's "steppe tundra" on the map, but I'm colour blind, so I'm not entirely sure what colour it is. Pink? fuchsia? Grey? May be a good reason to remove it... FunkMonk (talk) 16:54, 15 March 2013 (UTC)
I've just removed the image. This article isn't about that habitat anyway.

FunkMonk (talk) 19:06, 15 March 2013 (UTC)

  • How is Hay, 1924 responsible for calling it both Elephas and Mammuthus? Did he perhaps just give the name M. boreus (or vice versa) so (E. boreus) would then be ascribed to him indirectly?
The other way around. But sometimes the author of the new combination is credited instead, but that seems to be elusive information. Both should be valid. FunkMonk (talk) 02:15, 15 March 2013 (UTC)
Thanks. I believe that when the generic name changes, the credit changes from "Author, 1900" to "(Author, 1900)" if people are being careful. So given what you say I'm not sure there should be 2 credits to Hay. Doubt if it matters but I'd like to understand.
I'm not sure myself, form the articles here at least, all names are in parenthesis? As for combination credit, I've seen both versions used in many books. FunkMonk (talk) 19:05, 15 March 2013 (UTC)
OK, not to worry.
  • Lister 2007 is cited for numerous early theories (Hannibal's elephants, etc). It would be better if possible to have explicit early references for each of these theories, perhaps with a little more detail (even a section, "Early theories").
Most of these theories are so old (and not part of modern journals) that it will be hard to track down, but I'll see what I can do. FunkMonk (talk) 05:00, 15 March 2013 (UTC)
That would be very nice but it's not a showstopper for this GA.
  • In which year did Jefferson use Mammoth as an adjective?
Added, and discovered the cheese itself had an article! FunkMonk (talk) 05:25, 15 March 2013 (UTC)
  • In what sense is M. rumanus the earliest known type? The earliest European one?
Yes. Will make that clearer, if it isn't. FunkMonk (talk) 02:15, 15 March 2013 (UTC)
  • "A 2011 genetic study showed that two examined specimens of the Columbian mammoth were grouped within a subclade of woolly mammoths. This suggests that the two populations interbred..." How does it do that? Maybe a diagram would help show the relationships of all these species and types.
I cannot find a cladogram of how mammoth species are interrelated, and I don't think there are any, because their evolution is pretty linear, and not very branched. I was thinking of adding one that shows how mammoths are related to other elephant genera. Unfortunately, I'm very bad at coding cladograms (I tried on Dodo and Moa, with varying results)... Maybe I can ask somewhere. FunkMonk (talk) 05:02, 15 March 2013 (UTC)
That would be nice. But why does being in a subclade suggest interbreeding? It could suggest a process of separation...
Well, that's what the source says, and I think the Columbian species was present in America before the woolly one, so they would had been separated long before. But it seems further study is needed to clarify this. FunkMonk (talk) 19:05, 15 March 2013 (UTC)
I'll ask[2] someone to adapt this cladogram[3] from Shoshani and Tassy 2005. FunkMonk (talk) 19:36, 15 March 2013 (UTC)
That would be helpful but it's not a showstopper for this GA.
  • "they can be considered either primitive forms of a derived species, or derived forms of a primitive species." Makes the reader's head whirl - I think I know what this means, but again a diagram could make this a lot easier.
Maybe say "advanced" instead of derived? Though I know such terminology is frowned upon by some today.... FunkMonk (talk) 05:03, 15 March 2013 (UTC)
That wouldn't be better; try something like "Such an intermediate form could be considered as part of either species" (please tweak as appropriate, you get the idea).
But the point is that it is not "just" part of either species, but are, depending on who you ask, either advanced steppe mammoths, or primitive woolly mammoths. We can't haver it both ways. If we simplify it, that meaning is lost. FunkMonk (talk) 17:39, 16 March 2013 (UTC)
Not asking for simplification but clarification. Why don't you explain to readers what you've just explained to me...
Alright, I'll give it a shot. FunkMonk (talk) 18:06, 16 March 2013 (UTC)
Thanks, that's great.
  • "was even proposed to be a new subspecies" - is this editorialising, or is there reason to doubt the claim?
Later studies have downplayed their distinctness, but named woolly mammoth subspecies are discussed extremely little or at all after they are named, as it seems most researchers don't find them valid. But they never state this unambiguously, for some reason. But I will remove "even". FunkMonk (talk) 04:50, 15 March 2013 (UTC)
Thanks. There are some other "even"s in the article - probably all right but please look.
Fixed. FunkMonk (talk) 00:45, 16 March 2013 (UTC)
  • Suggest use {{convert|...}} for all measurements.
I'll try, at least where the measurements are not converted yet. FunkMonk (talk) 23:08, 15 March 2013 (UTC)
What to do with something like "2.6-2.9 m in height"? FunkMonk (talk) 04:05, 16 March 2013 (UTC)
Dunno, maybe best to convert by hand there, but I'm sure the language lawyers have a clever trick!
All measurements are converted now, but not necessarily with the template. FunkMonk (talk) 03:18, 18 March 2013 (UTC)
  • "Female Asian elephants lack tusks, but there is no fossil evidence that indicates some woolly mammoths did too." Please clarify.
Which part? Should I write "female mammoths" specifically? FunkMonk (talk) 02:17, 15 March 2013 (UTC)
"There is no evidence that female mammoths ever had tusks"; or Some female mammoths did have tusks, and we don't know if all of them did"; or what? I can't parse the "no...some..." in the sentence.
There is no indication that any grown mammoths lacked tucks, actually. FunkMonk (talk) 19:16, 15 March 2013 (UTC)
(has been reworded)
  • Ref 6 - missing data (date, journal, url...)
Fixed. FunkMonk (talk) 23:34, 15 March 2013 (UTC)
  • Ref 7 - needs publisher...
Fixed. FunkMonk (talk) 03:42, 16 March 2013 (UTC)
  • Ref 11 - needs conf, paper details
What kind of details? FunkMonk (talk) 00:49, 16 March 2013 (UTC)
It's Ref 12 now (Foronova & Zudin) - it just says "International Congress" with no page number or anything. I think it was Proceedings of the 1st International Congress, Rome, 2001. pp 540-543.
Fixed? FunkMonk (talk) 23:40, 17 March 2013 (UTC)
It wasn't, but it is now - I've filled in the page range for you.
  • Ref 18 - needs date
Removed. FunkMonk (talk) 23:16, 15 March 2013 (UTC)
  • Please check all refs for completeness.
I've replaced all bare URLs now. Was a remnant of the old article. I don't like all those press releases myself, and have tried to replace them with actual scientific papers. FunkMonk (talk) 20:59, 15 March 2013 (UTC)
Still something wrong with links 24, 71. 75.
I removed 75, because it was unnecessary, but I'm not sure what's wrong with 24 and 71? FunkMonk (talk) 23:25, 17 March 2013 (UTC)
I've fixed 3 refs by hand, one was a DOI cite that didn't expand for me, the other 2 were just naked URLs, see the article's edit log.
  • Thanks for the review and copyedits, I'll adresse these issues soon. FunkMonk (talk) 15:00, 14 March 2013 (UTC)
My pleasure.
  • By the way, do you know why the two last synonyms in the taxobox appear smaller than the rest? They shouldn't. FunkMonk (talk) 02:16, 15 March 2013 (UTC)
yeah, needed to be </small> not <small/>
  • Comment - Apparently the first ref (Lister) is so detailed on one page (192) that that one page alone can be used for over 30 citations. Even if that's the case (which I highly doubt), it should say "p.192", not "pp. 192". --FutureTrillionaire (talk) 14:57, 17 March 2013 (UTC)
Mmm. I've left the original ref (near end of article) but have changed all the rest to "Page needed". They need fixing either with other pages from Lister or indeed other sources entirely. I've removed the name=Lister from them so they stand separately. Chiswick Chap (talk) 15:20, 17 March 2013 (UTC)
Should be "pages" in plural. For a potential FAC, I'll add individual pages, because I'm pretty sure it isn't needed for GA. FunkMonk (talk) 17:59, 17 March 2013 (UTC)
Gosh. As far as I can tell from WP:CITE, there is no general need to cite everything, and a ref at the end of a paragraph or section that all comes from one source is acceptable unless something is challenged (which it now has been, by FT). However, it looks as if (and common sense dictates that) the rule is "if there is a citation, it should be correct". It could possibly have been all right just to put Lister in the Bibliography; it is not all right to put "Lister page 192" for facts which did not come from that page. Chiswick Chap (talk) 18:16, 17 March 2013 (UTC)
Of course not, the singular page was an old mistake, and as I said, it should had been plural (192 pages, not page 192). And that's what I meant, that as far as I know, specific pages do not need to be specified for GAs. But I will do that eventually, so might as well do it now. FunkMonk (talk) 22:01, 17 March 2013 (UTC)
What would be acceptable page ranges? For example, if biological issues are covered across fifteen pages, is it enough to list those, or should it be broken further down? FunkMonk (talk) 22:56, 17 March 2013 (UTC)
Anyway, done. FunkMonk (talk) 01:29, 18 March 2013 (UTC)
Thank you. I can't see anything very clear written down either way, and honestly I much prefer to see articles improved, as here, than to spend time arguing. The article is much the better for the accurate page refs. I've no idea how wide a page range can be; I have myself once or twice been picked up for excess ranges, and the cure is obvious. If you've summarized a chapter in a paragraph, it's surely sensible to give a wide range; when it's a matter of BLP or right-wing dictators, the page has to be exact, one at a time, one ref per sentence. BTW I'd wondered long ago if "pages=" meant "number of pages in the book": it seems that it's very rarely understood that way by editors! People use it for page ranges.
  • There are 2 citations to the same letter by Breyne, but the refs given are different. Please correct and unify them under one name.
Yup. FunkMonk (talk) 17:59, 17 March 2013 (UTC)
  • Thanks for the thorough review and I'm happy that you pushed for some improvements that will benefit an eventual FAC. I'll try to get the remaining issues fixed before such. Your copyedits were also invaluable. FunkMonk (talk) 15:56, 18 March 2013 (UTC)
That's brilliant. It's a sweat at the time, I know. Glad to have been of service. Chiswick Chap (talk) 16:00, 18 March 2013 (UTC)

If a wolly mammoth is ever cloned, would it be possible for it to live in one or another of the so-called Pleistocene Parks? I ask because I'm extremely interested in the mammoth, but I'm also aware of the ethical dilemmas involved in bringing one or more back to life.

Dr M Wimsatt2602:306:C409:52D0:225:4BFF:FE86:F858 (talk) 07:41, 25 March 2014 (UTC) Of course I know how to spell "woolly." In my post about the mammoth, I inadvertently typed "wolly." Please excuse!

Dr M Wimsatt2602:306:C409:52D0:225:4BFF:FE86:F858 (talk) 07:50, 25 March 2014 (UTC)

I believe there is uncertainty if exactly the right milieu exists anywhere on the earth today. FunkMonk (talk) 11:18, 25 March 2014 (UTC)
  • Any thoughts on whether the "range map" should be in the taxobox or in the article? In most prehistoric animal article, there is none, and it is kind of misleading, since it is only based on fossils... FunkMonk (talk) 23:04, 3 October 2013 (UTC)

Woolly thinking[edit]

"The colour of the wool varied through black and brown to pale." Pale what? Pale is a colour intensity qualifier, not a colour in itself. Peridon (talk) 09:46, 7 April 2013 (UTC)

Right, fixed. FunkMonk (talk) 14:53, 7 April 2013 (UTC)
Ta. (I presume a female would be blonde...) ;-) Peridon (talk) 15:58, 7 April 2013 (UTC)

Subjective opinion removed[edit]

I've removed a sentence of biased opinion: "He also notes that the time and resources required would be enormous, and that the scientific benefits would be unclear; these resources should instead be used to preserve extant elephant species which are endangered."

Everyone has their own opinion, everyone has their pet projects (sic). Nobody was suggesting recreating mammoths would be cheap or quick. And scientific processes often have tenuous prospects for important successes. Suggesting how the resources "should" be spent is meretricious. The international scientific community has already realized that the world does not have enough resources to save all endangered species, even if it wants, and that decisions must be made about which are desirable and cost-effective. So even if the mammoth argument was something to the effect of "It's easier and cheaper to preserve species that are still living", it isn't necessarily true that the alternative choice would be existing elephants. It might well be that recreating a mammoth has more value than, say, preserving a noxious kind of mosquito. Leptus Froggi (talk) 02:07, 24 September 2013 (UTC)

I can see your point slightly, but this is the opinion of respected scientists (and it is attributed to them, not stated as fact), and it has been approved by several reviewers, and most importantly, it is reliably sourced. So you shouldn't just go around removing stuff before bringing it up. Bad manners. FunkMonk (talk) 05:37, 24 September 2013 (UTC)
Manners? Well, "manners" would have been writing to my talk page, or explaining your edit in in the Edit Summary, instead of making me guess that you might have responded in talk. The fact that someone with a PhD has an unencyclopedic, biased opinion about how public money should be spent is irrelevant. There are millions of such people, and not every one of them has a right to express their opinion in Wikipedia. If he thought the best use of the money was to save African, but not Asian elephants, could you still imagine his opinion was anything else but his attempt to sway the public on the basis of what he, personally, wants money spent on? Your point of view is so biased, you should not even continue. I'm perfectly willing and able to call in arbitration. I have a special interest with people who manipulate Wikipedia to their own WP:BIAS. Leptus Froggi (talk) 21:42, 28 September 2013 (UTC)
Please don't be disruptive just to make a point.[4] You're the one proposing a drastic change of content which has been approved by several other editors during several peer reviews. You bring it up here, and then we talk about it, and if there is support from many others, we can remove it. Not before. You can also make a request for comment or nominate this to be delisted as FA, be my guest. The point is, your own subjective opinion doesn't trump that of many other editors (or the reliable sources), therefore it needs discussion first. FunkMonk (talk) 12:33, 29 September 2013 (UTC)
It's clear from context that this is one opinion. I don't see what the problem is if it's sourced. If somebody publishes a counter-opinion, that can and should be cited too. Done. MMartyniuk (talk) 20:09, 29 September 2013 (UTC)
Wrong. Wikipedia isn't a forum or a chatroom on the main page, any more than it is in Talk. People are making an entirely unwarranted public statement about what money SHOULD be spent on. This is completely illegitimate in an encyclopedia, and it really doesn't matter FunkMonk, whether you and a bunch of your friends banded together to intimidate other editors with your opinion. Leptus Froggi (talk) 19:35, 30 October 2013 (UTC)
Wikipedia works by consensus and sources. You are working against both. FunkMonk (talk) 19:47, 30 October 2013 (UTC)
  • If these removals of sourced content continue, this'll have to be discussed elsewhere. FunkMonk (talk) 06:47, 3 December 2013 (UTC)
Restored the content as I see no support for its removal. Vsmith (talk) 02:19, 7 December 2013 (UTC)

Revisiting this[edit]

"He also notes that the time and resources required would be enormous, and that the scientific benefits would be unclear; these resources should instead be used to preserve extant elephant species which are endangered." In the sentence as written it is not entirely clear that the final clause is Lister's opinion. It is easily misunderstood as WIKIPEDIA taking a stance on the proposition.--Khajidha (talk) 11:49, 24 October 2014 (UTC)

  • "He also notes" makes it pretty clear it is attributed to him. FunkMonk (talk) 12:15, 24 October 2014 (UTC)
The "He also notes" makes it pretty clear that the phrases "the time and resources required would be enormous, and that the scientific benefits would be unclear" are attributed to him. It is not clear that this attribution extends past the semicolon. --Khajidha (talk) 14:22, 24 October 2014 (UTC)
I will add "he suggests these resources". FunkMonk (talk) 14:25, 24 October 2014 (UTC)
Thank you. --Khajidha (talk) 14:30, 24 October 2014 (UTC)

Wrong Name[edit]

The name of a tool referenced in this article is in error. "Spear thrower" is called an atlatl (at-a-lay), you wouldn't call a Musket a lead thrower. Josh81884 (talk) 02:37, 9 April 2014 (UTC)

  • Yet that is their common name, as used in the sources. FunkMonk (talk) 03:24, 9 April 2014 (UTC)
Atlatl redirects to spear thrower (I removed leading spaces and added the link in the sentence above)EdwardLane (talk) 16:07, 11 April 2014 (UTC)

What happened to the taxobox?[edit]

Seems someone screwed up the automatic taxobox page? Not sure how to fix it. FunkMonk (talk) 01:52, 28 May 2014 (UTC)

in what way ? I can't see a change (but I don't know how it looked before or what is incorrect. have you tried looking for the root templates that make up template:speciesbox to see if that is where the change originated? EdwardLane (talk) 02:12, 28 May 2014 (UTC)
There are no taxa above Mammuthus, and the colour of the template has disappeared. I don't know much about the system. FunkMonk (talk) 02:16, 28 May 2014 (UTC)
  • It happened again... FunkMonk (talk) 20:35, 28 January 2015 (UTC)
    • Fixed; I managed to find where the taxobox was changed by following a redlink added by an apparent vandal. I would not have been able to solve this case without the clue left by the perpetrator on the scene of the crime. The automatic taxobox is not very user friendly, unfortunately. jonkerztalk 20:50, 28 January 2015 (UTC)
      • Thanks! Yeah, I've given up on using it myself... FunkMonk (talk) 20:53, 28 January 2015 (UTC)
Same thing happened a couple weeks ago with Titanoboa's automatic taxobox. It's too easy for a vandal to screw with them, I'd recommend having them locked or something.--Mr Fink (talk) 21:09, 28 January 2015 (UTC)
  • Seems like something's not right with the taxobox again? It doesn't look like those in other articles. FunkMonk (talk) 16:17, 6 October 2015 (UTC)
Fixed. Somebody deleted the whole Afrotheria taxobox template in an attempt to remove hyaenadonts from Afrotheria. Dinoguy2 (talk) 12:14, 7 October 2015 (UTC)
Ah, thanks! FunkMonk (talk) 14:01, 7 October 2015 (UTC)


"Local dealers estimate that there are 10 million mammoths still frozen in Siberia" That's a heck of a number to put up there without any reference. Sorry, I don't know how to correctly identify that lack of reference. But, really. You'd think we'd all be tripping over them, large though Siberia may be. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:50, 24 October 2014 (UTC)

Comparison illustration suggestion[edit]

I love this entry, it is beautifully written and laid-out very well. My favorite part is the section on Evolution, a subject that can be difficult for non-scientists like me to fully understand.

I especially liked the second sentence under "Recreating the species": "After several generations of cross-breeding these hybrids, an almost pure woolly mammoth would be produced. The fact that sperm cells of modern mammals are potent for 15 years at most after deep-freezing is a hindrance to this method."

What I wanted to suggest is the addition of a mammoth-human comparison illustration and one between, say, the largest mammoth, the largest mastodon and the larger dinosaurs. I like this illustration comparing a human with several types of sauropods at (~20% down the page). Maybe something like that could be done here.

Thank you for such a great entry. Rissa, copy editor (talk) 19:05, 24 October 2014 (UTC)

Yeah, would be nice, someone just has to do it... FunkMonk (talk) 20:00, 24 October 2014 (UTC)

do you mean like this ?EdwardLane (talk) 20:57, 13 April 2015 (UTC) 600px

Like that (seems it was uncategorised on Commons for years, so no one found it), yeah, but that one only features the Columbian mammoth, not the woolly one... FunkMonk (talk) 07:29, 14 April 2015 (UTC)
  • I added this[5] image, which does show some invalid species (sungari and imperator), but the comparison with the woolly mammoth is alright. But it would be great if someone would make one with more up to date taxonomy... FunkMonk (talk) 17:12, 3 May 2015 (UTC)
I've now removed the synonyms from the image. FunkMonk (talk) 03:00, 11 May 2015 (UTC)

Cloning a mammoth[edit]

Regarding the National Geographic story on an attempt by a Korean-Russian team to clone a mammoth, it should be pointed out that all the team has done so far, other than collect some frozen tissue specimens, is to think about how they might proceed. They haven't actually accomplished anything, according to the story. As such, this news story is not encyclopedic and not worthy of mention. Moreover, the approaches they are contemplating are ones that most mainstream scientists would regard as having zero chance of success. WolfmanSF (talk) 18:44, 27 October 2014 (UTC)

I think it is alright in the article body (not in the lead), which already covers some similar announcements. It can always be removed/cut down if it turns out to go nowhere. Anyone else have thoughts? The diff is here:[6] FunkMonk (talk) 22:35, 27 October 2014 (UTC)
In general, I would discourage against mention of publicity-seeking scientists who announce grandiose plans without having accomplished much. That deceives less sophisticated readers into viewing their proposals as more plausible than they really are. I suppose exceptions could be made for people who have attained considerable credibility. At this stage of cloning technology, anyone who announces plans to clone a long-extinct species can be safely dismissed as a crackpot or scam artist, even if they receive mention in mainstream media. WolfmanSF (talk) 02:15, 28 October 2014 (UTC)
The "Pleistocene Park" project seems pretty determined. If the animal is to be cloned, it will likely be for commercial purposes, which also seems to drive many other scientific areas. In any case, the paragraph that was added yesterday was too long and hyperbolic. It could be rewritten in more cautious language. FunkMonk (talk) 08:37, 28 October 2014 (UTC)
Determination won't help if the technology isn't there. Given that we currently can't even resurrect species that have died out in the last few years, this idea is just a combination of hot air and wishful thinking. If we are ever able to synthesize complete chromosomes and get them to function, it might become possible. For now, I suppose we could say that people are thinking and talking about resurrecting the species, but we should be careful not to give the impression that this is a practical goal. WolfmanSF (talk) 00:42, 29 October 2014 (UTC)
Totally agree with WolfmanSF's comments above. David J Johnson (talk) 11:22, 29 October 2014 (UTC)
I didn't write the paragraph, but I do think elements of it are useful, mostly the fact that a nature reserve has already been put in place for potential reintroduction. I will propose a different paragraph later, with less focus on whoever claims to be close to cloning. FunkMonk (talk) 11:28, 29 October 2014 (UTC)

Arctic plant diversity and forb prevalence vs. time[edit]

While Willerslev et. al (2014) talk about Arctic botanical diversity being low during the last glacial maximum period (the LGM, 25-15 kyr ago), one can see from their Fig. 2a that it was similarly low for most of the preceding 25 kyr, and that it increased rapidly after 15 kyr ago. So, trends in botanical diversity could not have been a factor in megafaunal extinctions occurring (like the woolly mammoth's) after the LGM.

They do not say that forbs "began to disappear 25-15,000 years ago, in favour of grass"; in fact, thy say forbs were dominant during the LGM ("Continued forb dominance during the LGM implies that similar proportions of forbs and graminoids were maintained through this period, despite the significant decline in floristic diversity"). Their data also does not show a significant decline in forbs relative to grass until the period 5-0 kyr ago (Fig. 4a). So, it does not make sense to suggest based on the data presented that decline of forbs caused or contributed to the extinction of mainland woolly mammoths, who were gone by about 10 kyr ago, and the paper does not propose this; it only speculates about a forb-megafauna feedback loop being disrupted by rising temperatures and/or the disappearance of the megafauna. WolfmanSF (talk) 02:07, 8 November 2014 (UTC)

It does suggest this under conclusion. The press releases focus even more on that point. FunkMonk (talk) 16:58, 8 November 2014 (UTC)
I think you're referring to the Discussion (there isn't any conclusion), where they say, "a feedback loop that maintained nutritious and productive forage and supported large mammalian populations in glacial climate regimes may have been impossible to maintain after deglaciation, as C:N ratios increased with global warming, and the potential breakdown of the megafauna–forb interaction would have been exacerbated by declining mammalian populations". This stops short of actually proposing that decline of forbs caused or contributed to megafaunal extinctions, and in any case, in order to be taken seriously, such a proposal would need to be accompanied by data showing a significant decline in forbs prior to or contemporaneous with the extinctions, and they don't present such data. I haven't seen the press release, but I wouldn't necessarily take that very seriously either, as press releases aren't peer-reviewed, and it may have been written by a PR person. WolfmanSF (talk) 23:43, 8 November 2014 (UTC)
In that case (I didn't have the paper with me when I wrote the above), I guess the info could be used differently under habitat or diet. Here is a press release with a different focus: FunkMonk (talk) 11:00, 9 November 2014 (UTC)
That press release is absurd. There was no "major loss of plant diversity" during the LGM (again, look at Fig. 2a), and there is no indication whatever that the megafauna "barely survived" this period, and there is no correlation of either changes in plant diversity or decline of forbs with the extinctions. Also, the press release ignores the fact that the great majority of end-Pleistocene/early Holocene extinctions took place outside of the Arctic; these extinctions were not selective for any particular climate zone or group of climate zones. The press release is pure hot air and should be ignored. WolfmanSF (talk) 17:29, 9 November 2014 (UTC)
Seems we'll have to watch out then, I could imagine people would continue adding this in good faith. FunkMonk (talk) 18:07, 9 November 2014 (UTC)

Native Siberian beliefs about the woolly mammoth[edit]

In the Cultural Significance section, it states: Native Siberians believed woolly mammoth remains to be those of giant mole-like animals that lived underground and died when burrowing to the surface. However, I can't find any reference to this in the linked source ( Is there a better source for this claim? (talk) 15:40, 2 January 2015 (UTC)

I found a reference to this belief in Our lost explorers : the narrative of the Jeannette Arctic Expedition as related by the survivors, and in the records and last journals of Lieutenant De Long by Raymond Lee Newcomb, p. 96 (, and have added it to the article. (talk) 16:56, 2 January 2015 (UTC)
Cool, there is another source in the article that states that, but always good with new ones. You just need to format it in the same way as the other citations. FunkMonk (talk) 18:27, 2 January 2015 (UTC)

Obscure taxonomy stuff[edit]

Most modern sources ignore the complicated taxonomic situation concerning this species around the turn of the last century, so I didn't include it when I first wrote the article, as I didn't know where to get an overview and what the issues were. But now that I've gathered some of the sources (mainly[7][8][9][10]), I think it's time to discuss some of this stuff. But it is quite complicated, so will take some time to explain it properly/for me to get it. FunkMonk (talk) 15:05, 12 April 2015 (UTC)

love the title of this section, not sure I can help but if you want an idiot to say "nope, I don't understand", until your explanation makes sense, let me know. EdwardLane (talk) 20:50, 13 April 2015 (UTC)
Cool, it'll probably be added over some time, while I also edit Columbian mammoth. FunkMonk (talk) 07:28, 14 April 2015 (UTC)
Now the taxonomy section has been expanded and restructured. Is it understandable? FunkMonk (talk) 00:58, 16 May 2015 (UTC)

American Indian traditions and cryptozoology[edit]

I'd like to do a bit of work on the sections explaining American Indian traditions and cryptozoology. I don't think it's a fair assessment to associate Indian traditions, some of which go back over 200 years at least, with modern cryptozoology. There are at least two features that should be discussed: like the Siberians, North Americans had "myths of observation", that is, traditions associated with actual mammoth remains. Additionally, some scholars and others have interpreted certain Native traditions as containing possible folk memory of mammoths. That isn't really cryptozoology on the part of the Indians; in many cases they're authentic traditions that outsiders have read mammoths into. I think the issue could be solved by adding a few lines on North American "myths of observation" and legends that have been interpreted as references to mammoths to the previous section, and then perhaps saying in the cryptozoology section that cryptozoologists have used the Indian traditions. Thoughts?--Cúchullain t/c 16:35, 10 August 2015 (UTC)

  • As it is now, the section "cultural significance" is already split in the manner you propose. Text about natives encountering remains and believing they are extant creatures is covered there ("Native Siberians believed woolly mammoth remains to be those of giant mole-like animals that lived underground and died when burrowing to the surface."), not under cryptozoology, and the cryptozoology section already states "Legends from several Native American tribes have also been interpreted by some as indicating folk memory of extinct elephants", which is basically what you requested. Cryptozoology is a pretty broad field, which also includes investigations of folk memory, not only modern search expeditions etc. Also, we should probably not add more text about specific myths, as they could just as well refer to Columbian mammoths or mastodons, not necessary woolly mammoths. To be honest, it wouldn't hurt me if the cryptoozology title was removed and it was just one big section. But we probably need more views on this. FunkMonk (talk) 17:09, 10 August 2015 (UTC)
What I mean is that the first section should include include North American traditions, specifically that, like the Siberians, they had traditions based on bones and remains, which isn't there now. Additionally, the line that some observers have interpreted American Indian traditions as containing folk memories of mammoths would be more appropriate in that section than under "cryptozoology". What I propose adding would be something like:
The indigenous peoples of North America also used woolly mammoth ivory and bone for tools and art.[11] As in Siberia, North American natives had "myths of observation" regarding the remains of woolly mammoths and other extinct elephants; the Bering Strait Inupiat also believed the bones came from underground burrowing creatures, while other tribes associated them with primordial giants or "great beasts" (Stone, Lankford & Mayor cites). Some observers have interpreted various Native American legends as containing folk memories of extinct elephants (Stone, Lankford & Mayor)." It may also be good to say something like, "though others regard this as speculative".--Cúchullain t/c 20:06, 10 August 2015 (UTC)
Well, if it can be properly sourced, feel free to add it (and remember to keep the citation style consistent). FunkMonk (talk) 20:09, 10 August 2015 (UTC)
I added it in, and hopefully got the cites right. I couldn't figure out how to get specific page numbers for the Stone cite, but citing the whole thing should be fine; as with the second Lankford cite the relevant material is found throughout it.--Cúchullain t/c 21:15, 10 August 2015 (UTC)
Looks good, one small thing, the first name of the authors should just be the initial, as in the other citations. FunkMonk (talk) 21:24, 10 August 2015 (UTC)


How could a weakened adult be vulnerable to predators like cats and bears? We don't see modern adult elephants being attacked by cats in Africa nor Asia. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:44, 11 November 2015 (UTC)

Firstly, sign your contributions; and secondly, place them in the correct order at the foot of the Talk page. Your contribution to the article was pure speculation and has been removed. Wikipedia relies on confirmed sources and not unsourced edits. David J Johnson (talk) 22:06, 11 November 2015 (UTC)
Yes, we do see lions attacking adult elephants: [12] FunkMonk (talk) 21:41, 12 November 2015 (UTC)

Minor Error[edit]

In the evolution section on the phylogenetic tree there is no cross next to Mammuthus but there are crosses next to other extinct genera in the phylogenetic tree. -- (talk) 20:52, 15 November 2015 (UTC)

Fixed. WolfmanSF (talk) 00:34, 16 November 2015 (UTC)

I think the instances of X years ago should be changed to X BCE.[edit]

8,000 BCE is always the same, but 10,000 years ago is not. --UnindentifiedHuman (talk) 20:53, 19 March 2016 (UTC)

We do what the sources do. I wonder whether this article will even exist in a thousand years, I'd say your concern is a bit premature. FunkMonk (talk) 20:57, 19 March 2016 (UTC)

Mammoth bone dwellings[edit]

Journal reference for the Neanderthal bone dwellings: Demay, Laëtitia; Péan, Stéphane; Patou-Mathis, Marylène (2012). "Mammoths used as food and building resources by Neanderthals: Zooarchaeological study applied to layer 4, Molodova I (Ukraine)". Quaternary International. 276-277: 212–226. doi:10.1016/j.quaint.2011.11.019. ISSN 1040-6182.  jonkerztalk 21:19, 23 April 2016 (UTC)

Thanks, added, no idea why anyone added a horrible link, just noticed and replaced it now... FunkMonk (talk) 09:47, 26 April 2016 (UTC)

Saint Paul Island mammoth[edit]

According to

A dwarf variety of mammoth survived on Saint Paul Island until c. 3,750 BC

but here, we are told that

Isolated populations survived on St. Paul Island until 6,400 years ago

That's a difference of about 630 years. Likewise according to

the last mammoths on the island c. 1700 BC

but here, we are told that

Wrangel Island until 4,000 years ago

That's a difference of about 300 years. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2001:6B0:E:4B42:0:0:0:206 (talk) 17:46, 28 June 2016 (UTC)

Well, easiest way to determine what is correct is always to check out the sources used. Should be easy for anyone. FunkMonk (talk) 18:13, 28 June 2016 (UTC)

Yukagir mammoth[edit]

A summary from the following article should be integrated -- presumably in the 'frozen specimen' section; or at least, a 'See also' section created with link to same: Yukagir mammoth. Also, that article could use some copy/edit, etc. --2606:A000:4C0C:E200:A99B:8185:FE40:CECC (talk) 23:29, 15 July 2016 (UTC)

The specimen is mentioned several times in the article. What else info is important in an article about the species as a whole? FunkMonk (talk) 11:26, 16 July 2016 (UTC)
It seemed ambiguous at best as to whether or not that specimen was included. Re-reading the 'Frozen specimens' section, I still don't see it; no mention of this "exceptional" specimen discovered in 2002. The 'See also' section is for related articles; Yukagir mammoth would qualify. [op]: (talk) 22:45, 16 July 2016 (UTC)
I see, I'll add something tonight. FunkMonk (talk) 08:09, 17 July 2016 (UTC)
Thanks, I was tempted to do it myself, but didn't want to mess up a 'featured article'.   ;)  [op]:2606:A000:4C0C:E200:A1FA:194E:E841:B585 (talk) 15:52, 17 July 2016 (UTC)
Now added some text. I must admit I thought it was there already, so thanks for the pointer! FunkMonk (talk) 08:46, 18 July 2016 (UTC)

WikiProject Cryptozoology[edit]

Since there is a mention in this article regarding the Woolly Mammoth's importance in cryptozoology, shouldn't it be listed under the WikiProject Cryptozoology?--Paleface Jack (talk) 17:05, 18 May 2017 (UTC)

If this article had been written in the early 20th century, then maybe, but no one seriously believe mammoths exist today. Perhaps the title is even misleading, because the sources used don't actually mention cryptozoology. Maybe it should be called "alleged modern sightings" or some such. FunkMonk (talk) 17:07, 18 May 2017 (UTC)

The Thyacline is a Cryprozoology article because there are still sightings of them so should this apply to the mammoth as well?--Paleface Jack (talk) 19:06, 18 May 2017 (UTC)

But are there still seriously reported sightings of mammoths? Not as far as I know. There was some video a few years ago which turned out to be a CGI hoax. FunkMonk (talk) 19:22, 18 May 2017 (UTC)