Difference Between Elephant and Mammoth

Elephant vs Mammoth

Magnificent, enormous, intelligent, anatomically unusual, long-lived, endangered, and fascinating are adjectives those could be used to describe elephants or mammoths. Because of the many similarities shared between elephants and mammoths they sound alike, but they can be differentiated easily. The upper lip and nose are merged and elongated to form their muscular trunk, which is the unique feature of both elephants and mammoths. Elephants and their evolutionary relatives, known as proboscideans, originated on the Earth 60 million years ago. Henry Fairfield Osborn’s extensive work on the fossil evidence of proboscideans revealed about 350 species. Before 5 million years, there had been the ancestor of both elephant and mammoth called Primelephas. Mammoth became extinct before 10,000 years and that serves the most obvious difference to elephant as they being extant today.


Elephant is possibly the most well-known animal in the world with two distinct species, Asian and African. Naturally they have been distributed in Asia, Africa and Europe, but not in any of the American continents. By the look at an elephant, it is evident that the hair cover over the body is very little because, they mostly live in tropical conditions without being exposed to low temperatures. They are tall and wide, and the height is presented by measuring the shoulder height of the front leg. Also, the height of an elephant can be calculated by multiplying the circumference of the base of the front foot by two. An elephant can be as tall as 2 – 3 metres and weighs between 3 and 6 tons making them the largest among all the land animals. Because of the enormous body size, one elephant needs about 150 kilograms of food per day. They walk about 10 – 20 kilometres daily in the wild, making sizeable spaces among bushes. Those spaces are very useful for the other animals to move across the wilderness; hence the elephants play an extremely important ecological role. The two tusks originating from the upper jaw incisors are important in fighting for dominance among them and they are iconic features. Both sexes of the African elephants have tusks while only a small percentage of Asian male elephants possess these eye catching features. Therefore, the tusks are not shared equally among all the elephants present day.


The last mammoth on the Earth died before about 10,000 years. The number of mammoth species existed is in debate as different studies present varying numbers; 16 species according to Osborn, (1942); 7 species as in Madden, (1981); more recent reports describe 4 species (Todd & Roth, 1996; Hill, 2006; Gillette, 2008). Fossil records of mammoths were found from Asia, Africa, Europe, and North America. Since all the mammoths existed in the last ice age, they had to be protected from extreme low temperatures hence, there was a thick coat of hair. Also they were much larger, weighing between 5 and 10 tons, and 3 – 5 m tall. Mammoths had two tusks as in elephants, but they were more or less curved than straight. According to fossil records, the tusks were present in all the mammoths.

Elephant vs Mammoth

Both elephant and mammoth are similar having beautiful tusks, muscular trunk, gigantic body, and unusual anatomy. But mammoths were larger in body size, longer and more curved tusks were present among all of them, with a thick coat of hair. The mammoth fossils from North America provide strong evidence for their wider distribution than the elephants’. However, the elephants’ intelligence, the strong family bonds and the irresistible appeal of their young will continue to fascinate people with never ending desire to watch them.