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When Elephants Were Furry

by Laura Overdeck

When you think of furry animals, you probably don’t think of elephants. But the woolly mammoth might make you might think differently. This huge animal from tens of thousands of years ago had curved tusks and a long trunk, just like its elephant cousins — but it also had wild 3-foot long hair all over its body. We’re guessing that that hairstyle did NOT smell good, but it helped the woolly mammoth live in extremely cold temperatures. And let’s not forget their giant tusks, which could grow up to 16 feet long — maybe longer than your whole bedroom! By the way, this company wants to bring woolly mammoths back, maybe as soon as the year 2027 – so things might get hairy.

Wee ones: Who weighs less, an 8-ton mammoth or a 5-ton elephant?

Little kids: Both girl and boy mammoths had tusks. If you had one boy and one girl, how many tusks did they have together?  Bonus: Regular African elephants’ tusks reach “only” 10 feet. How much longer were the mammoth’s 16-foot tusks?

Big kids: Mammoths went extinct (died out) about 5 thousand years ago. How do you “spell” 5 thousand as a number?  Bonus: The woolly mammoth’s hair was about 3 feet long. How does that stack up against your height in inches? (Reminder if needed: A foot has 12 inches.)

Answers:
Wee ones: The elephant.

Little kids: 4 tusks.  Bonus: 6 feet longer.

Big kids: 5,000.  Bonus: Different for everyone…subtract 36 from your height in inches, or subtract your height from 36 if your height is less.

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