The Columbian Mammoth, (Mammuthus
columbi ) was a descendent of Mammuthus meridionalis (Mammuthus meridionalis
) the ancestral mammoth that entered North America via the Bering
Land Bridge about one million years ago. The Columbian mammoth ranged
from Alaska, and the Yukon, across the mid-western United States
south into Mexico
and Central America. Huge, standing almost
14 foot at the shoulder (420 cm), and weighing 8-10 tons, the Columbian mammoth could consume about 700 pounds of vegetation a day. The life span for a Columbian mammoth was 60 to 80 years. To date,
49 Columbian mammoths have been found at the Mammoth Site.
Two species of mammoths, the Columbian and woolly, were trapped in the Hot Springs Mammoth Site pond.
Identified by its hairy coat and large curved tusks, the woolly mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius ) was a descendent of the steppe mammoth (Mammuthus trogontherii ). The woolly mammoth, living south of the ice sheets, ranged from northern Europe, across Siberia, and into North America. Smaller in comparison with the Columbian mammoth, the woolly stood 11 foot at the shoulder (330 cm), and weighed 6-8 tons. Scientists believe that huge glaciers, advancing from the north and east, forced the woolly mammoths to the western area of what is now the state of South Dakota.Three woolly mammoths have been discovered in the Hot Springs sinkhole.