Man Without Qualities

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Mammoths And Mastodons

Two boys, ages 9 and 5, share the abode of the Man Without Qualities, and they have both seen Return of the King.

That means that there have been lots of questions around these parts recently about mammoths, mastodons and elephants. And, frankly, the Man Without Qualities has been hard-put to keep up. Nor is my spouse's knowledge of the proboscideans and their descendants all that it should be.

Fortunately, there is this nifty website that tells all - or at least much. At last the youngsters can be authoritatively advised, for example, that mastodons were trudging about more than 20 million years ago - where mammoths are johnnies-come-latelies at 4 million.

And nobody even knows if all mammoths were woolly - although the Woolly Mammoths were very woolly indeed. And there were also little (6 feet) dwarf mammoths, who fearlessly braved the elements, the sea and oxymoronism!

It's quite a relief.

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