Danube Virtual Museum

Cenozoic of the Vertebrates

Mammuthus primigenius (Woolly mammoth)

Mammuthus primigenius (Woolly mammoth), widespread in central and northern Eurasia, was a typical resident of tundra and steppes. During the glacial, it moved throughout the steppes far to the south to the Balkan area and Greece.

This species came across North Asia to the North American mainland, using the then existing isthmus between the two continents. It is considered a symbol of the Ice Age - its body was covered with a thick, long reddish-brown fur, which protected it from the cold together with a thick layer of fat under the skin. It had long, spirally twisted tusks up to 3 meters long. Mammuthus primigenius existed alongside prehistoric man, who was also its worst enemy, as evidenced in hunt drawings in the caves of Southern France, as well as in completely preserved specimens in the frozen land of Siberia.

Steppe bison

Steppe bison (a genus of ungulate, the family of hollow horn cattle) was very large, at least 2 meters in height and about 1500 kg with a horn span of more than a meter.

It lived in Europe, Asia and North America. It was a motive in cave drawings of prehistoric humans (eg Altamira in Spain). It is assumed that it appeared in South Asia 700 000 years ago. The species was extinct in the period from 11 000 to 8 000 years ago. The European successor was a European bison (Bison bonasus), and in America the American bison (Bison bison), commonly known as a buffalo. Today, both European and American bison have almost become extinct. They are kept and bred as a rarity in some reserves (Bjelovec forest-the border of Poland and Belarus). They were reintroduced into some countries in Eastern Europe in the 1920s. The planned program of reproduction and nutrition led to a number of more than 1000. The European bison is also the largest mammal on the continent.

(Text: Natural History Museum in Belgrade)