Last Updated on 2022/01/12
Dwarf Sardinian Mammoth
Mammuthus lamarmorae is a dwarf species of mammoth that lived in Sardinia and probably also in Corsica during the Pleistocene (between 450,000 and 40,000 years).
It was about 150 cm tall at the withers and weighed about 550 kg. The Sardinian mammoth is the only endemic mammoth in Italy and has been found in different areas of the island.
The small size of this pygmy mammoth is due to a process of insular dwarfism, which occurred when its original ancestors reached Sardinia, and due to lower food supply and lack of potential predators, they reduced their size.
Fossil remains were found in Alghero (Tramariglio), Gonnesa (Funtana Morimenta) and in Sinis (Capo San Marco). Unfortunately, the remains of this animal are rather fragmentary, in fact, in addition to sporadic finds of isolated teeth, the only specimen of which we have part of the skeleton is the one found in Gonnesa at the end of the 1800s. Some fragments of the limbs, the pelvis, some vertebrae, ribs, and the mandible were recovered. The bones found in Gonnesa are now exhibited in the Museum of Sulcitani Paleontological Environments in Carbonia.
Colonization of the island through the steppe mammoth probably happened during the Pleistocene glacial periods in which the global sea level was much lower due to the continental ice sheets, and the animals could reach the island by swimming.
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