Historical References to the Mammoth
From Historic Books, Documents, and Records
editor's note: In many historic documents, mammoth and mastodon are terms used to discribe the same animal, althought they are very different creatures. The notes shown are all regarding the woolly mammoth,
(Mammuthus primigenius)
- 1841-
Along the greater and lesser Aniuj Rivers, Siberia
(Lesser Aniuj)
The banks of the river thus far resembled those of the lowerKolyma in there deary uniformity, but we now began to meet with better pastures. The right bank is much higher than the left. It consists of steep sandhills 30 or more fathoms high, held together only by frosts which the summer is too short to dissolve. Most of the hills were frozen as hard as rock: nothing thaws but a thin outside layer, though, from being gradually undermined by the water, large masses of frozen sand frequently break off and fall into the stream, When this happens, mammoth bones in more or less perfect state of preservation are generally found: we saw a few bones, and a scull, which looked to me like that of a rhinoceros.
 
Source: Wrangall, Admiral Ferdinand, Russian Imperial Navy, Narrative of an Expedition to the Polar Sea, New York, Harper and Brothers publishers, 1873,  p172-173
 
- 1885 -
 
A stroll that evening disclosed  the distal extremity of a mastodon's femur on the gravel beach near camp. Mr. Homan finding a tooth of the animal near by. For many years the scattered bones of this extinct animal have been found along the Yukon, showing that this region was once its home. When at Fort Yukon an Indian brought the tooth of a mastodon to a member of my party, and receiving something for it, probably more than expected, told the white man that the entire skeleton was protruding from the banks of one of the islands, about a day's journey up the river. Our limited time and transportation forbade investigating further. In a few years, I suppose, the bank will be excavated by the undermining river, and the bones swept away and scattered over many bars and beaches, for it is in such places that the greatest numbers are found, while a complete skeleton in situ is a rarity.
 
source:Schwatka, Frederick, Along Alaska's Great River, New York: Cassell & Company Limited, 1885 p. 287
 
- 1885 -
 
Oceansk is quite a large town of three hundred inhabitants, composed of Yakuts, Tunguses, exiles and their keepers, and quite a number of  traders, who buy up the pelts and fossil ivory which is found throughout this section of Siberia. I saw many thousand pounds of the mammoth tusks stained black as night by age and the tanning qualities if the tundra peat or bog, in which a great quantity of the ivory, or mammoth (as the natives and Russians call it), lies buried. Some of these tusks which I measured were nine feet in length along the curve, and at the large or skull end were thirty inches in circumference; hollow and elliptical in cross-section. I saw one train of thirty sleighs laden with these tusks, all marked with the owner's name en route for market, and upon inquiring its destination was told Keti (China), the great ivory-working country of the world.
 
source: Melville, George W., In the Lena Delta, Boston: Houghton, Mifflin and Company 1885, p. 372
 - 1890 -
 
Speaking of the interior of the country (alaska), we have the authority of Mr. C. F. Fowler, late agent of the Alaska Fur company, and long resident in the country, and Ex-Governor Swineford, both of whom have carefully investigated the subject, for stating that there exists a huge species of animals, believed to be represenatives of the supposed extinct mammoth, found in herds not far from the headwaters of the Snake River, on the interior plateaus of Alaska. The natives call them "big-teeth" because of the size of their ivory tusks. Some of these, weighing over two hundred pounds each, were from animals so lately killed as to still have flesh upon them, and were purchased by Mr. Fowler, who brought them to the coast. These mammoths are represented to average twenty feet in height and over thirty feet in length, in many respects resembling elephants, the body being covered with long coarse, reddish hairs. The eyes are larger, the ears smaller, and the trunk longer and more slender than those of the average elephant. Two tusks which Mr. Fowler brought away with him each measured fifteen feet in length.
 
source: Ballou, Maturin M.,The New Eldorado, A Summer Journey to Alaska, Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1890 p. 259-260
- 1923 -
 While the steamer was tied up there, I called at the restaurant, and its owner, Fred Brentlinger, showed me a pair of Arctic ox horns which he had dug from the ice thirty feet under ground. These horns measure three feet from tip to tip and are  well preserved. He told me the price was five hundred dollars. The whole country has the remains of prehistoric animals locked up in vaults of perpetual ice. In the Klondike there have been dug up the bones of mastodons and other giant animals of the past; and nearly every town has a great ivory tusk or skeleton of an animal that lived in Alaska before the Ice Age began. Curios made of such ivory are for sale in many of the stores, and if one wants a tusk or tooth some hundred thousand years old it is easy to get.
 
source: Carpenter, Frank G., Alaska our Northern Wonderland, New York: Doubleday, Page & Company, 1923, p 121
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