Phonetic: Mam-mu-fus im-pe-ra-tor.
Named By: Joseph Leidy - 1858.
Classification: Chordata, Mammalia, Proboscidea, Elephantidae, Mammuthus.
Species: M. imperator.
Size: Up to 4.9 meters high at the shoulder.
Known locations: Across North America.
Time period: Zanclean of the Pliocene through to the end of the Pleistocene.
Fossil representation: Many specimens.
imperial mammoth is one of the largest known mammoth species in the
fossil record, and possibly not only the largest mammoth but the
largest terrestrial mammal currently known from North America. The
imperial mammoth is still eclipsed in terms of size by some other
mammoths; however the exact species is not uncertain. Previously
the record holder went to Mammuthus
sungari, but new analysis of
these remains in 2010 has since led to the idea that the largest
remains of M. sungari should be moved over to M.
better known as the steppe mammoth, making this the largest species.
The imperial mammoth is usually associated with finds within the United States of America, but remains are also known from as far as Southern Mexico and Canada. As such the imperial mammoth covered a broad geographical range much like its counterpart the Columbian mammoth (M. columbi). These two species are often confused with one another due to their similar forms, but the imperial mammoth can be identified from its tusks, the tips of which cross over one another. The imperial mammoth does seem to have suffered the same fate as the Columbian mammoth however by succumbing to the combined effects of climate change and human hunting.