The Mammoth, a massive animal that roamed the lonely wilds of North America, the expanses of Western Europe, and the harsh lands of northern Russia during the Pleistocene era, and which is generally accepted as having become extinct somewhere around the end of the last Ice Age.
Today, all we have left of this huge, majestic creature are a few well-preserved carcasses found embedded in icy tombs, and the various bone and tusk fragments that still continue to surface from time to time. Could there, however, still possibly be more – maybe, much more - just waiting to be uncovered?
For years, intriguing and sensational rumors have surfaced to the effect that in some of the more remote parts of our world the Mammoth existed until relatively recent times, blissfully unaware of what such a shocking and jaw-dropping revelation would mean to the world’s zoological community.
And while such a scenario is certainly controversial, and completely derided by mainstream science, perhaps it is not entirely out of the question. For example, the related Dwarf Mammoth of Wrangel Island – located in the Arctic Ocean - is known to have lived until approximately 1700 to 1500 BC, which is itself startling and highly illuminating.
But far more controversial are those claims suggesting that the Mammoth walked the frozen tundra and forests of the north until the early part of the 20th century. “Absolute nonsense!” some might say. Others, however, just might be inclined to argue with that assertion.
In the late 19th Century, for example, researcher Bengt Sjorgen learned that tales were both wildly and widely circulating in remote parts of Alaska about giant, hairy tusked creatures that lived deep under cover of the huge, ancient forests. Such reports of the “hairy elephants” in question extended to equally wild parts of both Canada and Siberia.
On February 17, 1888, the New Zealand-based Grey River Argus newspaper published an article titled "A Live Mastodon, The Latest Wonder of the Alaska Fauna." It stated the following:
"The Juneau (Alaska) Free Press says that the Stick Indians, near the headwaters of the White river, positively assert that within the last five years an animal has been seen by them which, according to description, must be a mastodon.
"One of the Indians said that while hunting he came across an immense track sunk several inches in the moss and larger around than a barrel. The Indian followed up the curious trail, and at last came in full view of his game.
"These Indians as a class are the bravest of hunters, but the immense proportions of this new kind of game filled the hunter with fear, and he took to swift and immediate flight. He described it as being larger than the post trader’s store, with great shining, yellowish tusks, and a mouth large enough to swallow him at a single gulp. He said the animal was undoubtedly the same as were indicated by the huge bones scattered over that section.
"The fact that other hunters have told of seeing this monster, and the numerous bones found in that section, give a certain probability to the story. On Forty-Mile Creek bones can be found projecting partly from the sands and among the driftwood along the stream.
"One ivory tusk projects nine feet out of a sandbank and is larger around than a man’s body. A single tooth would be a good load for a strong man to carry."
French charge d'affaire, M. Gallon, was working in Vladivostok in 1946, and said at the time that more than 25 years earlier he had encountered a Russian fur-trapper, who told Gallon he had seen "giant, furry elephants" in the remote taiga. Such stories abound; indeed I have dozens of such reports from old newspapers, periodicals, and magazines.
Are Mastodons and Mammoths still with us? No! The idea that there could be entire herds of such huge animals roaming around in the 21st century, and not be found, is absurd. But, do I think they may have lasted far longer than most might suspect? Well, yes, I really do.