Woolly Mammoth Tooth - Riker Box Specimens
Woolly Mammoth Tooth - Riker Box Specimens
A full-grown woolly mammoth, just one species of the genus Mammuthus, stood 10 to 12 feet (3 to 3.5 m) at the shoulder, with a shaggy coat of hair. The woolly mammoth's hair provided a substantial advantage in the struggle to stay warm.
Their high-crowned molars were pleated with ridges of enamel: somewhat similar to the dentition of the modern Asian elephant, but distinct from the fewer, diamond-shaped, enamel plates of the African elephant. The morphology of mammoth teeth and the distribution of mammoth remains suggests mammoths were predominantly grazers subsisting mainly upon grasses and sedges, a diverse biomass that the modern Arctic tundra doesn’t approach.
📸 An artist's depiction of Woolly Mammoths in the Pleistocene
Woolly Mammoth Tooth Specimens
The morphology of mammoth teeth and the distribution of mammoth remains suggests mammoths were predominantly grazers subsisting mainly upon grasses and sedges, a diverse biomass that the modern Arctic tundra doesn’t approach.
This specimen is a fragment of a Woolly Mammoth tooth which was recovered from the bottom of the North Sea, in an area refered to as "Doggerland." In the Pleistocene, before it was covered in water, this was home to a rich steppe ecosystem.
📸 A variety of Woolly Mammoth Tooth Specimens
Every specimen is an authentic piece of tooth material from the extinct Woolly Mammoth which dates back to the Pleistocene. The item is housed in a glass-topped riker display box measuring 4x3x1" and comes with a small photo card that also serves as certificate of authenticity. The size can vary but is generally around 1/2 inch.
Please Note: Each mammoth tooth fragment is completely unique. The shapes and textures differ between specimens and most will contain an array of coloring from creams, browns, grays, and in some rare cases even blue vivianite.
In addition to the classic riker box specimens, we also have several polished molar cross sections and even complete teeth. These larger specimens are priced individually and you can see them all below.
MORE ABOUT Woolly Mammoths and Doggerland
"Doggerland was the real heartland of Europe until sea levels rose to give us the coastline of today." ~ Dr. Richard Bates, Geochemist, St. Andrews University
📸 Clement Reid's 1913 map of the "submerged forests" known then as the "Dogger Bank". Later, this region would be renamed "Doggerland" as science uncovered more of its ancient secrets.
A Sunken Pleistocene Ecosystem
Great Britain was not always an island. During the Pleistocene, it was the northwest peninsula of the European continent. Bounded to the north by steep walls of ice, the land between was home to a steppe ecosystem full of life. Now lost beneath the waves of the North Sea, this phantom countryside is known as Doggerland.
Doggerland was a connection between Great Britain and the rest of Europe which was rich with marshlands, rivers, and lagoons. This meant its ecosystem was filled with life and even people. 12,000 years ago, it may have been the best place in Europe for an early human to get a meal. However, as the Last Glacial Maximum ended, the sea levels rose and covered Doggerland, burying what was left below the waves.
The name for this land is borrowed from the Dogger Bank, a large sandbank that rises 20 meters (66 ft) from the seafloor and extends over 17,600 square kilometers (6,800 square miles). The region is now a fertile fishing ground though fishermen sometimes still find neanderthal tools and mammoth bones in their nets to this day.
📸 Time for the dentist! A massive Mammoth molar in the hands of our neanderthal photographer
The History of Mammoths
Roughly the mass of a modern African elephant, the woolly mammoth evolved some 400,000 years ago in Siberia from the steppe mammoth widespread on that continent, and ultimately spread westward into Europe and eastward into North America via the Beringian land bridge that once connected modern-day Russia and Alaska.
This event may have been the second mammoth invasion of the New World, as the steppe mammoth forayed to North America about 1.5 million years ago and evolved there into the endemic (and enormous) Columbian mammoth.
Mammoths were an important food source to early humans and neanderthals. They even used their bones and hides to create huts and other structures.
📸 Brilliant coloring on Mammoth tooth fossils
In Pleistocene North America, woolly mammoths primarily roamed the cold, treeless tundra-grasslands immediately below the continental ice sheets—the American reach of the mammoth steppe—while Columbian mammoths occupied a more southerly, temperate range encompassing most of today's Lower 48 States and which extended deep into Mexico.
They shared this territory with fellow Pleistocene grazers, subsisting mainly on grasses and sedges along with willows, alders, and other stunted trees that grew sparsely in the high-latitude steppe lands, far more diverse biomass than the modern Arctic tundra.
After disappearing from continental ranges roughly 10,000 years ago, small, isolated populations of woolly mammoth survived on Alaska's St. Paul Island until about 5,600 years ago and on Russia's Wrangel Island until perhaps 4,000 years ago. All of these pockets eventually died out due to the lack of genetic diversity that comes from metropolitan interactions with larger populations.
📸 A 2.75" Polished Block of Alaskan Woolly Mammoth Tooth with rare, blue Vivianite running throughout.
Babe the Big Blue... Mammoth?
Some woolly mammoth teeth have been discovered with a uniquely blue coloring to them. This stunning shade is due to vivianite implantations, a mineral formed by the combination of animal phosphorous and iron in the soil.
Vivianite is usually pale or colorless when it forms, but when it is exposed to air the oxidation causes it to turn to a brilliant blue. In the right conditions, this process can produce incredible streaks of dark to light blue coloring in mammoth teeth, which is an incredible reminder as to the deep history of the fossil.
Interestingly, this can also occur on the skin of a well perserved animal as well. In fact, some ancient bisons have been found in the ice with blue coatings over their horns and bodies. It reminds us of the other famous blue megafauna we know: Babe the Big Blue Ox!
Front of the Specimen Card
Back of the Specimen Card
Kurtén, Björn. How to deep-freeze a mammoth. Columbia University Press, 1986.
Bocherens, Hervé, et al. "Isotopic evidence for diet and subsistence pattern of the Saint-Césaire I Neanderthal: review and use of a multi-source mixing model." Journal of human evolution 49.1 (2005): 71-87.
Sherkow, Jacob S., and Henry T. Greely. "What if extinction is not forever?." Science 340.6128 (2013): 32-33.
Cooper, Alan, et al. "Abrupt warming events drove Late Pleistocene Holarctic megafaunal turnover." Science (2015): aac4315.
Tikhonov, Alexei, Larry Agenbroad, and Sergey Vartanyan. "Comparative analysis of the mammoth populations on Wrangel Island and the Channel Islands." Advances in Mammoth Research 9 (2003): 415-420.
Barrow, Mark V. Nature's Ghosts: Confronting Extinction from the Age of Jefferson to the Age of Ecology. University of Chicago Press, 2009.
Neanderthal Classic Riker Box Stone Tool Fragment