________________ CM . . . . Volume VIII Number 7 . . . . November 30, 2001

cover Ice Age Mammoth: Will This Ancient Giant Come Back to Life?

Barbara Hehner. Illustrations by Mark Hallett.
Markham, ON: Scholastic Canada, 2001.
32 pp., pbk. & cl., $9.99 (pbk.), $21.99 (cl.).
ISBN 0-439-98786-5 (pbk.), ISBN 0-439-98787-3 (pbk.).

Subject Headings:
Mammoths-Juvenile literature.
Woolly Mammoth-Juvenile literature.

Grades 3-6 / Ages 8-11.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

*** /4


Mammoth bones are sometimes found in clusters - perhaps because a group of animals was killed suddenly by a flash flood or landslide. When scientists analyzed the remains of 19 adult mammoths found together in 1988 in Sevsk, Russia, 17 of them were female. They believe this was a herd much like an elephant herd today. On the other hand, at the Hot Springs mammoth Site in South Dakota, individual mammoths accidentally fell into a stinkhole and died there over a long period of time. All except one of the skeletons found were male. Scientists believe these were young males roving away from the herd.

First in a series of "Ice Age Animals" titles, this book traces the history of the woolly mammoth, from its debut on earth, over 40,000 years ago, to the most recent discoveries of mammoth skeletons in the late 1990s. Topics covered in the 11 chapters include life during the Ice Age, the mammoth's evolution and structural adaptations, modern-day use of mammoth tusks, and how scientists piece together the intriguing puzzle of the mammoth's life by examining its remains. Most fascinating is how researchers unearth the massive carcasses which have been encased in 23-ton blocks of rock-hard permafrost. As a result of the information gleaned from studying mammoth skeletons, scientists hope someday to create a hybrid animal - part elephant, part mammoth - by using DNA from the Jarkov Mammoth, found in 1997 in Siberia. In preparation for that eventuality, Pleistocene Park, a 62-square-mile area in a remote section of Siberia, has been set aside with the intention of introducing various plant and animal species and creating a balanced ecosystem similar to the one in which the mammoth thrived long ago.


     The book's layout, with its fabulous assortment of illustrations, is attractive and unified. Original art by artist and scientific consultant Mark Hallett (who helped to create the dinosaurs for the movie Jurassic Park), maps, diagrams and photographs add colour and visual appeal to the text. One cautionary note with regard to the text: though expertly written, the text is often too difficult for readers to whom the subject matter will appeal most. A short glossary, an index and a recommended reading list are provided.


Gail Hamilton is a teacher-librarian at Bird's Hill School in East St. Paul, MB.


To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364